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Lauterstein Leaps; Phelps Wakes Up - In A Tent

May 4, 2011

News Round-Up:

Australia: Olympic bronze medallist Andrew Lauterstein has left coach Grant Stoelwinder's Sydney "Super Squad" to return home to Melbourne to train with coach Ian Pope for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and will spend a month training with Ian Thorpe in Switzerland under the guidance of coach Gennadi Touretski. The move follows Lauterstein's failure to make the Australian team for the world titles in Shanghai this July. The 23-year-old told Michael Cowley at The Sydney Morning Herald, that the trials for Shanghai last month had been decisive: "I hadn't thought about moving at all in the lead-up to trials and then straight off the back of the race [semi-final], I knew something did have to change. I took a couple of weeks to weigh up my options and see where I felt was the best fit. I guess a lot of it came down to lifestyle as well. I moved out of home when I was 18, straight off the back of Schoolies and I have missed my sister growing up and it's a nice thing to be able to come home and have mum cook me meals as well, and the quality of program down here was something that really appealed to me. I'm loving being at home. But it was hard. I was training with some of my best mates in Sydney and my coach as well - I would rank him right up there as a really good friend."

USA: Bob Bowman has told the US media that his relationship with star charge Michael Phelps is a little like it was a decade ago at the outset of an amazingly successful adventure. "It's kind of like we were eight or ten years ago. It's kind of fun, actually. As we get closer and closer to [the Olympics], he's waking up," said Bowman in an interview with him and Phelps that focussed on the drive to expand the Michael Phelps Swim School across the US before a drive to export the model to other parts of the world. The wake-up call played a hefty part of the discussion with the media once again, after Phelps was beaten for the first time since 2002 in relatively serious competition over 200m butterfly: he finished 4th at the Ann Arbor leg of the US Grand Prix recently behind China's Wu Peng, Poland's Marcin Cieslak, and American Tyler Clary. 

"It's frustrating, but it's obvious what's going on," Phelps said. "It's just like anything else. You have to work hard at something to be able to achieve something. I'll be the first one to admit, I haven't put in enough work since Beijing. I know that. You're not hiding anything from me. I see it, and it's frustrating. But also at the same time, I'm doing it to myself. I wasn't too happy after Ann Arbor, and losing that streak was something I was disappointed with. Nine years is a long time. That would have been cool to be able to retire and still have that streak, but I'm actually kind of happy, too. It's better that it happened now [rather] than at Worlds, Trials or the Olympics. I think that's going to be used as motivation, along with some other things."

Bowman's take was consistent with what he has already spoken of on a number of occasions: "Who could blame him, really?" Bowman said. "How man Grand Prix events can you swim in? I think he's really excited about Worlds and about Shanghai. And that's where his focus is. Could he have done a better job? Well, yeah. But it's a very long time to go to be [at the top] all the time. I'm happy to let him come down a little bit, and then we can kind of work back up."

Phelps believes that his fellow competitors don't seem to be in awe of him the way they once were. "It's interesting," Phelps said. "You can tell by body language. I've noticed it a lot more the last two years than I really ever have. That's something I've always watched, how people are acting toward me, and how they've changed."

Phelps was thrilled by the prospect of racing Ian Thorpe, the comeback Australian who looked fit and lean as he stood to sing hymns at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in London last Friday. "I love it," Phelps said of Thorpe's comeback. "It's something I would have liked to see him do awhile ago. We've only raced once or twice. Him coming out of retirement after seven years is going to be interesting. If he gets back to the top, he really wants to do it. And that's going to be the only way. I want to race him again, and I want to race him again when we're both at our peak. It's a good possibility that will happen. He's talented enough. He's strong enough. He's fast enough."

Phelps has also been experimenting with different training techniques, including sleeping in an altitude tent at night to strengthen oxygen production. He came up with the idea - one that has been in operation in Australia and China, among other countries for many years now, when he and Bowman discussed why he always trains better at the US Olympic Development Center at altitude in Colorado Springs. 

"It looks like my bed is like a fish tank," Phelps said. "Right now, I'm sleeping at [the equivalent of] almost 6,000 feet above sea level. You can feel it when you open the door in the morning. I do feel like my body is recovering faster than it was without it. We're going to work our way up to 10,000 feet. We'll see how it goes. Right now, I feel better in the water than a couple months ago, so I'm encouraged. I feel like 'What's the worst thing that could happen?' "

France: Chartres has entered the ring as a bidder for the post-Olympic Games European Short Course Swimming Championships, the meet to take place from November 22 to 25 next year.