CHARLOTTE, North Carolina - Nicholas Thoman upstaged Olympic hero Michael Phelps and a star-studded American field to win the men's 100m backstroke at the Charlotte UltraSwim meet on Saturday.
Thoman touched in 53,70 seconds while Phelps finished in 53,92. Olympian Matt Grevers was third in 54,50, and world record holder and Olympic gold medallist Aaron Peirsol was a distant fifth in 54,68.
"Winning here, winning with the home crowd, was really fun," said Thoman, who trains in Charlotte.
Beating Phelps, the 14-time Olympic medallist, made it even more special.
"(Beating) Phelps wasn't the big picture, the big picture was getting a best time," said Thoman, who had set the world record in the short-course 100m backstroke last year.
"I was just trying to chip away at my best time. My goals are best times, suited or unsuited, and it's another in-season best, so I'm excited."
Phelps had won the men's 100m butterfly on Friday. He was scratched from the men's 50m freestyle after finishing ninth in the preliminaries on Saturday.
"I can't really be disappointed," Phelps said. "There's some conditioning I need to fix . " - Sapa-AFP