Phelps forges to 100m freestyle win

MONTREAL: Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps won the 100m freestyle at the Canada Cup here Sunday, and said he has room for improvement before the US world championship trials in July.

Phelps, who won an unprecedented eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and owns 14 Olympic titles overall, won in 48.65sec.

The American, still refining his freestyle sprint skills as he looks ahead to the London Olympics, said he satisfied with at least half the race.

"I felt awesome in the first 50, I'm not really sure what happened in the second 50... the last 50 wasn't that good," he said, adding that he would try to iron out the kinks before the US championships in Indianapolis start on July 7.

"I'm sort of everywhere where I want to be, except in the 100 free," said Phelps, who finished ahead of Australian Matt Targett and Trinidad's George Bovell. "I want to be faster in that." "There's two weeks. Hopefully we'll work on these things and perfect those for trials. I'm really happy with the stroke and the first 50," Phelps said.

With the victory Phelps completed a sweep of both of his events in Montreal. On Saturday he won the 100m butterfly in a personal best time of 50.48sec.

Phelps's 100m freestyle time improved on the 48.87 that he clocked the previous weekend at a meeting in Santa Clara, California, when he finished second to defending world champion Brent Hayden of Canada.

Phelps had settled for second behind French sprint star Frederick Bousquet in the 100m free at a meeting in Charlotte on May 17.

The Charlotte meet was his first since the Beijing Games in August. His return to competition was delayed by a three-month ban meted out by USA Swimming after a photo Phelps holding a marijuana pipe surfaced in a British tabloid.

Montreal was his third meeting of 2009, and his last before the US championships that will select the team for the World Championships in Rome July 17-August 2.

Asked about his plans for the World Championships, Phelps said he had not yet decided what events he would be aiming for, and was keeping his focus on the trials.

"The most important thing is to make the world champ team this year and just try to swim as fast as I can," he said.