(Reuters) - Michael Phelps finished fifth in the 200 meters breaststroke in his final event at the U.S. championships in San Antonio on Monday.
After blowing away the competition with 2015 world-leading times in his first three races over the weekend, Phelps completed his campaign more sedately.
He clocked two minutes 11.30 seconds, well behind winner Craig Benson of Scotland, who touched in 2:09.68, in an event that has never been the American’s strongest.
Phelps, 30, the most decorated Olympian ever with 18 gold medals, will leave San Antonio having served notice to the swimming world that he is back to close to his previous brilliant best, a year before the Rio Games.
He won the 100m and 200m butterfly and the 200m individual medley. In all three events he swam faster than the winning time at the world championships that were held in Russia the same week.
Phelps swam at U.S. nationals rather than the world championships because he was banned from the U.S. team in the wake of his drunk driving arrest last year.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine