China’s Wu says second win over trailing Phelps was ‘just being lucky’

2012-05-14 00:00

CHARLOTTE — U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps showed he still has some work to do before the London Games, settling for another runner-up finish at the Charlotte Grand Prix on Saturday.

The 14-time Olympic medallist was edged by China’s Wu Peng in the 200 m butterfly, losing to the same swimmer who ended Phelps’s long winning streak in one of his signature events a year ago in Michigan.

“Sure, I sure hate to lose,” he said. “But when it comes down to it, if I’m able to see where I’m at, see what I need to do and change, that’s all I really need to get out of it.”

Phelps was second all the way, trailing Wu at the first turn, then falling behind Sebastien Rousseau through the middle two laps of the race. Wu, who was fourth in the 200 m butterfly at Beijing, showed an impressive finishing kick, passing Rousseau and Phelps to win in 1.56,69. Phelps was next at 1.56,87, while Rousseau slipped to third in 1.57,54.

“I know this is not the Olympic trials, this is not the Olympic Games,” Phelps said. “It’s a stepping stone heading in the right direction for the end result. You’ve heard me say that so many times, but that’s the truth. These are little things along the way — I like to call them quizzes — to really see what I need to improve on.”

Phelps competed in only two races at Charlotte, also finishing second in the 200 m freestyle. He will swim just one more meet, a minor event in Texas, before the U.S. Olympic trials in late June.

For much of the next six weeks, he’ll be locked away in the mountains of Colorado, just Phelps and coach Bob Bowman, training in high altitude and fine-tuning his strokes without any unnecessary distractions. “I hope I come out alive,” Phelps joked.

He knows the hard work is necessary if he is to make his fourth - and what he insists will be his final — Olympics a fitting cap to his brilliant career.

“I’m within striking distance of where I need to be,” Phelps insisted. “That’s pretty much the reason why we decided to just go to Colorado Springs and stay there until the trials. We do get a lot of work done when we go there.”

Wu, who’s made the 200 m fly finals at the past two Olympics but has yet to win a medal, knows that Phelps will be a lot tougher to beat in London than he was in Charlotte. “I was satisfied with my performance,” he said. “Michael is not feeling good yet. I was just lucky.”

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