Michael Phelps, riding the momentum of a relay victory, opened his individual World Championships campaign on Monday with the second-fastest time in the 200m freestyle heats.
“I felt good coming off the relay,” said Phelps, who helped the United States to an upset win in the 4x100m free on Sunday night. “It felt fairly controlled for a morning swim.
“I noticed yesterday guys are swimming fast in the morning, you have to kind of step it up in the morning,” added Phelps, who said he was satisfied to book his berth in the first of Monday night’s semifinals with a time of 1min 45.60sec.
Phelps is the world record-holder in the 200m free, establishing the mark of 1:42.96 at the Beijing Olympics as part of his eight-gold haul.
So Germany’s Paul Biedermann, who stunningly broke Australian legend Ian Thorpe’s world record in winning the 400m free on Sunday, said he didn’t expect the 200m free to come down to a duel between himself and Phelps.
Back to the basics
Phelps also welcomed proposed changes to swimsuit rules after performance-boosting costumes propelled a tidal wave of records on Sunday.
He said a single type of suit would bring the sport back to basics and remove the upheaval new bodysuits using polyurethane have brought to swimming.
“Swimming will actually become swimming again. We’re all going to have the same exact suit. It’s not going be an issue,” Phelps said.
“It’s not going to be a question of what suit we’re wearing, who’s wearing what,” Phelps said. “We’ll see what happens over the next few months.”
‘Fall of 400m free record shocking’
Amid the six world record spree at the World Championships on Sunday, the fall of Ian Thorpe’s 400m free world mark stood out for Phelps.
“I still can’t believe the men’s 400m free record got broken,” Phelps said. “I thought that was the best record on the book. That was crazy to see that go.
“But people are swimming fast. You usually don’t see that in a post-Olympic year, but somehow they’re doing it.”