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November 11, 2009

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Phelps misses 2 of 3 finals

WEARING an old-style swimsuit, Michael Phelps missed out on two finals and barely qualified for a third yesterday at a World Cup short-course meet in Stockholm in Sweden.

Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, failed to qualify for the finals of the 100-meter freestyle and 100 backstroke. He later qualified in the 100 medley, finishing seventh in 53.13 seconds - more than half a second slower than fastest qualifier Darian Townsend of South Africa.

Phelps, a 24-year-old American who was competing for the first time since the world championships in August, was sporting a beard and swimming in the old-style swimsuit that will become the standard next year. Most other swimmers used faster high-tech suits.

He finished 16th in qualifying for the 100 freestyle in 47.77 seconds. Eight swimmers advanced to the final, with Stefan Nystrand of Sweden recording the fastest qualifying time of 45.93. In the 100 backstroke, Phelps was disqualified. The referee didn't immediately specify why.

Phelps did not compete in either of those two events in a full length pool in Beijing, when he broke Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals won at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

His coach, Bob Bowman, said he wants Phelps to use the old-style suit in the lead-up to the US nationals next year.

Phelps said before the meet that he was not "in the best shape".


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