17 May 2009

Phelps in the hunt for more titles at the Charlotte UltraSwim

9:31 am on 17 May 2009

The Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps has tested the waters in two new events in his first return to the pool since Beijing.

He qualified for tonight's final of the 100 backstroke at the Charlotte UltraSwim Grand Prix.

Phelps, who won the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly titles on Saturday, qualified second overall with a time of 55.61 seconds, 0.05 behind world record-holder Aaron Peirsol.

Phelps also qualified eight fastest for the 50 metres freestyle finals, trialling a new straight-arm technique, but withdrew from the event to focus on the backstroke event.

He and his coach Bob Bowman have said the 50 metres sprint is never likely to become part of his programme for the London Olympics in 2012.

But they say 100 freestyle, which he will swim tonight, is definitely in their plans.