Phelps confident of getting back to his best

Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:07am EDT
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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Michael Phelps' comeback to competitive swimming has been anything but smooth sailing. A series of rare defeats have illuminated the enormous challenge he faces getting back to the top.

For a man who re-wrote the Olympic record books, those losses could have been enough to persuade him to pack up his goggles and quit for good, but if anything, they have only hardened his resolve.

In Australia for the Pac Pacific championships - his first international competition since he retired after the London Olympics - Phelps has lost none of his confidence.

His defeats at the recent U.S. National Championships were the result of simple mistakes that he has not made since he was a kid - but were easily fixed.

"I have been working on the basics that hopefully make a big improvement," he told reporters at the Gold Coast on Wednesday.

"At nationals, I missed a couple of walls, jammed a couple of walls - those were the big things that I guess I forgot how to do.

"They are the mistakes you make when you are 11 or 12 as an age-group swimmer."

Despite all his years in the pool, the 28-year-old said his mistakes were just a sign of his rustiness, and would be ironed out before the bigger meets ahead that will ultimately decide the success of his comeback.

"I probably just haven't had enough (racing) experience over the last year," added Phelps, who in eligible to swim in up to eight events including relays at the meet.   Continued...

Michael Phelps on the podium after getting his second place medal for the Men's 100 Meter Butterfly final at the USA Swimming Nationals at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports