ROME ——The Great Stroke Experiment is over.
By mutual decision, Michael Phelps and his coach, Bob Bowman, are putting that relatively new windmill, straight-arm stroke - designed for sprinting - right back on the shelf.
"It actually was [mutual]. It's funny, as often happens, he came out and said the same thing," Bowman said this morning at the world championships. "He said, 'I don't think this is working.' I said, 'You're right.' Experiment failed. Next."
The Baltimore swimmer told Bowman that on Sunday night, almost immediately after his opening leg in the winning 400-meter freestyle relay.
"It's as much my fault as his that he didn't go better," Bowman said.
Said Phelps after the morning preliminaries of the 200 freestyle, in which he had the second-fastest time: "We tried something, and it didn't work. We weren't 100 percent confident, or comfortable, with it. So now I guess it's back to the old stroke. My old stroke was kind of off a little bit, but I felt better this morning and felt smooth this morning."
Bowman broke down the problem with the stroke Sunday night after the relay.
"When I look at it, I see this kind-of stroke," he said. "He's not really doing this new stroke. He's not really doing the old stroke. I'd say we're going back to the old stroke. It's the last time he's doing that."