The highly anticipated Michael Phelps-Paul Biedermann meeting in the 200-meter freestyle in Berlin didn’t happen after all Sunday.
Even if it had, it probably wouldn’t have been much of a race. Biedermann set his second world record in two days in Sunday’s final as Phelps, who finished 12th in the heats and thus did not qualify for the final, salvaged the weekend with a silver in the 200 individual medley.
The final tally for the jammer-clad Phelps in four days of competition at FINA/Arena World Cups in Stockholm and Berlin: two silver medals, one bronze and a host of mediocre finishes.
Biedermann, meantime, set world records in the 400 and 200 freestyle. Though Phelps competed in a textile, short suit and Biedermann wore his Arena X-Glide high-tech suit, Phelps got mixed reviews from the European media.
Here’s an excerpt from AFP’s report on the meet Sunday:
BERLIN — Michael Phelps’ poor run of form continued Sunday as he came second in the 200m individual medley at the shortcourse World Cup while his arch-rival Paul Biedermann broke the 200m freestyle world record.
South Africa’s Darian Townsend beat the star of the Beijing Olympics with a new world record in the 200m individual medley final of 1 mins 51.55secs, compared to Phelps’ time of 1:53.70, to break Ryan Lochte’s previous record.
The defeat came just hours after Phelps failed to qualify for the 200m freestyle final and missed his chance for revenge against new world-record holder Biedermann.
Phelps, 24, suffered the first defeat in four years to Biedermann, 23, in the 200m freestyle final at Rome’s World Championships last July and the pair were set to clash here again over the same distance.
But while Biedermann was the fastest into Sunday’s 200m freestyle final with 1min 42.73secs, Phelps flopped to a disappointing 12th-fastest over the two heats in a time of 1 mins 44.07secs and failed to qualify from the heats.
Having also set a new world record in the 400m freestyle of 3 mins 32.77secs the day before, Biedermann then swam a new world best time of 1 min 39.37secs in Sunday evening’s 200m freestyle final.
And here’s Reuters:
[Paul] Biedermann set his second short course world record in as many days, clinching victory with a new best time of 1:39.37 on a day when many more records fell.
Phelps, eight times gold medal winner at the Beijing Olympics, finished with only the 12th fastest time in the preliminaries after opting not to wear one of the high-tech bodysuits that will be banned from next year.
“These were great races,” Biedermann said. “I am proud to be the first man to swim the 200m under 100 seconds. But I am disappointed that Phelps was not in top form. That would have been a good duel.”
Here’s the London Times Online: