27 Aug 2008

Phelps considering Bernard challenge

9:13 am on 27 August 2008

American swimming sensation Michael Phelps says he may challenge French Olympic champion Alain Bernard in the 100m freestyle at next year's World Championships.

The event wasn't among Phelps's record eight Olympic gold medal wins at the Beijing Games, the former world record-holder Bernard claiming it ahead of Australia's Eamon Sullivan.

Phelps told Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview that he may take on Bernard in next July's World Championships in Rome - though he says swimming is a world away from his thoughts right now.

Phelps says he and his coach Bob Bowman will be taking a substantial period of time off, but he still wants to push himself to the limits.

He also says he'll change his focus from longer to shorter races, including the 50-metre freestyle, and won't do the 400m medley any more as it "devours his soul".