Phelps wins 200m IM, heads for 'painful' high-altitude stint

Michael Phelps on his breaststroke leg in the 200m individual medley, on the final day of the Arena Pro Swim Series in Santa Clara, California. His 1:59.39 was his first under two minutes in the event this year.
Michael Phelps on his breaststroke leg in the 200m individual medley, on the final day of the Arena Pro Swim Series in Santa Clara, California. His 1:59.39 was his first under two minutes in the event this year.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SANTA CLARA (California) - Olympic great Michael Phelps won the 200m individual medley at the Santa Clara Pro Swim on Sunday for his second victory in as many nights.

The 29-year-old American, whose 18 Olympic golds include three 200m IM triumphs, said he was encouraged by his performance in the four-day meet, where he won the 200m butterfly on Saturday.

"I'm just happy to end the meet and have the (200m) free, (200m) IM and (200m) fly be faster than I've been all year," said Phelps, whose 200m IM time of 1min 59.39sec marked his first time under two minutes this year in the event.

"That's kind of what we wanted to do, to be able to progress throughout the year," added Phelps, whose comeback pointed at the 2016 Olympics was disrupted last year by a drink-driving incident that saw him banned for six months by USA Swimming.

"I'm happy where I am now," said the American, after holding off a hard-charging Josh Prenot, who finished second in 2:00.43.

Shortly after, Phelps swam in the 200m backstroke final, finishing ninth in 2:04.11 in a race won by Ryan Murphy in 1:57.06.

Phelps is next headed to altitude training in Colorado, and said he will compete in a small meet next month before the US Championships in Texas in August.

He will swim in the national championships rather than the World Championships in Russia as part of his USA Swimming sanction for the drink-driving offence.

"It's painful," Phelps said about his three-week training regimen at the Olympic Training Centre.

"It's mentally challenging more than anything. I know, deep down inside, I do benefit from going.

"It's just good to push my body as hard as I can. It helps prepare me."

An American star who will be headed to the World Championships, four-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin, finished her first meet as a professional with a third-place finish in the 200m back and sixth spot in the 100m free - departing the competition without a victory.

Hungary's Katinka Hosszu won the 200m IM and 200m back on Sunday to take her tally of victories for the week to five.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2015, with the headline 'Phelps wins 200m IM, heads for 'painful' high-altitude stint'. Print Edition | Subscribe