Phelps suffers shock defeat in Shanghai


Michael Phelps’ rocky season took another turn for the worse Tuesday when the 14-time Olympic gold medallist was stunned in the world championships 200m freestyle by US team-mate Ryan Lochte.
Phelps led over the first 100m until Lochte surged from third place to claim a narrow win in 1min 44.44sec, with defending champion Paul Biedermann of Germany third. The result means Phelps, the Olympic champion and former world record-holder in the event, fails to regain the crown he lost to supersuit-wearing Biedermann two years ago. South Korea’s Park Tae-Hwan was fourth.
“I think that if I was on the other side of the pool that race could have been played a little different. I think I woke him up in the first 100 and he went with it,” Phelps said. “I can’t complain. I’m bummed I didn’t win. But at the same time with what we’ve done over the last 18 months, I’m over a second faster than I was last year and a second-and-a-half off my best time in a suit.” Phelps remains on course for a possible five gold medals in Shanghai, which would match his haul in Rome two years ago. He claimed bronze on Sunday when the United States suffered a rare defeat in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
Meanwhile Camille Lacourt and Jeremy Stravius bizarrely became France’s first male world champions — in the same race. Both swimmers won the 100m backstroke in 52.76, in only the second such incident in world championships history.
The unusual result echoes 2007’s 100m freestyle world title race when Italy’s Filippo Magnini and Brent Hayden of Canada both topped the podium with identical times of 48.43. In other results, America’s Rebecca Soni defended her 100m breaststroke world crown ahead of Olympic champion Leisel Jones of Australia and Asian title-holder Ji Liping of China.
And Zhao Jing secured China’s second swimming gold in another upset win when she beat Olympic title-holder Natalie Coughlin into third place in the women’s 100m backstroke. Zhao finished in 59.05sec, just one-hundredth of a second faster than 2009 silver-medallist Anastasia Zueva of Russia. “The really difficult thing about backstroke is you never really know where you are in the race. In prelims yesterday morning I thought I was in fourth place and I was ahead,” Coughlin said.
“Being that the meet’s here in Shanghai I knew the Chinese were going to be very, very strong.” The win for Zhao, 20, follows 15-year-old Ye Shiwen’s stunning triumph for China in the women’s 200m individual medley, when she shocked the reigning world and Olympic champions on Monday.