San Antonio - Michael Phelps, coming off a sensational 200m
butterfly triumph at the US swimming championships, eased into the final of the
100m fly on Saturday in a sedate 52.12sec.
"Kind of blah," was Phelps's assessment after he
won his heat in the second-fastest time of the morning, behind Jack Conger's
But then, almost anything would be a comedown from his 1min
52.94sec 200m fly performance 14 hours earlier - a swim Phelps called
"close to probably my best 200 fly ever."
It was the fastest in the world this year - eclipsing the
1:53.48 posted by Laszlo Cseh in winning the world title in Kazan, Russia, this
It was faster than the 1:52.96 South Africa's Chad le Clos
swam to beat Phelps at the London Olympics.
Phelps, who set the world record of 1:51.51 in 2009,
admitted he was still feeling the effects.
"I was a little slow getting up this morning, hurt a
little bit," said the 18-time Olympic gold medallist who turned 30 this
"I got to sleep pretty good," added Phelps, but he
said he needs to relearn the emotional focus that helped cope with the highs
and lows of competition and capture eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing
"A big thing I have to focus on is being able to
control physical and emotional energy," he said.
"I haven't had a good swim like that since '09. A lot
of different emotions came up after that. I need to re-teach myself how to
To help him focus for the 100m final, Phelps had only to
look to Kazan, where less than an hour after his heat in San Antonio Le Clos
clocked 50.56 to win the 100m fly world title ahead of Cseh (50.87) and
Singapore's Joseph Schooling (50.96).
Phelps lost his world championships ticket because of his
drunk-driving arrest in September.
Swimming in the US meet that runs opposite the worlds, he's
been keeping a keen eye on the times produced in Russia.
"I'll be able to see what they do," Phelps said,
although he shied away from targeting a time.
"I don't ever really like to talk about what I (plan
to) do, because if I do I never end up going that fast."