LONG BEACH, Calif.—Michael Phelps opened the Olympic year with two victories at the Southern California Grand Prix, swimming his best times in the 100- and 500-yard freestyles last night.
The six-time Olympic gold medalist won the 100 in 41.93 seconds, lowering his meet record set last year at the Belmont Plaza indoor pool. Phelps beat a field that included Olympic sprinter Jason Lezak.
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Phelps beat a loaded field of Olympians, including training partners Erik Vendt and Peter Vanderkaay, by nearly three seconds. Klete Keller, who formerly trained with the trio in Ann Arbor, Mich., was fourth, and Larsen Jensen fifth.
Phelps, of Rodgers Forge, was more impressed with his time in the 100 free, done under the watchful eye of coach Bob Bowman, who arrived yesterday.
"Not many people have broken 41 [seconds]," he said.
Before the race, Bowman asked Phelps what he was going to do.
"It's the 100. Go out and finish," Phelps said, smiling.
Phelps and Vendt dueled through the 20-lap longer race, with Vendt briefly taking the lead before Phelps grabbed it back. Vendt finished in 4:13.31.
Phelps and several of the other top swimmers at the year's first major meet are coming off three weeks of altitude training in Colorado.