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STOCKHOLM - Swimming legend Michael Phelps failed to qualify for the final in two of the three races he took part in yesterday in the fourth leg of the short-course World Cup in Sweden.
The American, competing for the first time since the Rome world championships in July, clocked 47,77 seconds in the heats of the 100m freestyle, the 16th fastest time and 1,84sec slower than the best time set by Sweden's Stefan Nystrand (45,93).
He was then disqualified in the 100m backstroke heats for an overlong push-off.
Phelps did make the final of the 100m individual medley, but only as the seventh-fastest qualifier in a time of 53,13.
Also failing to make it into the final of the 100m freestyle were French speedster Frederic Bousquet (47,53), Australia's Eamon Sullivan (47,38) and Filipo Magnini of Italy (47,74).
Phelps, who won an unprecedented eight gold medals at last year's Beijing Olympics, did have the excuse that he chose to anticipate governing body Fina's ban on high-tech bodysuits due to come into force on January 1 by not using one.
Until then swimmers can choose either to use the bodysuits that sparked an avalanche of world records in Rome or switch back to more conventional attire.
The Stockholm meeting was also the first time that Phelps has taken part in a short-course event since 2006 and his first time in Europe since 2001, also in Stockholm. He has entered five races in Sweden and will go on to compete in Berlin at the weekend. - Sapa-AFP