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Phelps sidesteps criticism of his training habits

In what everyone wants to be the final words on the brouhaha over Tyler Clary's takedown of Michael Phelps' work habits, both swimmers addressed the issue on Thursday.

The short version: Clary said, my bad. Phelps said, whatever.

The long version, according to news reports from Knoxville, where the Olympics-bound swim team has been training at the University of Tennessee natatorium, is that the two cleared the air and that they're focused on beating up on the rest of the world at the Games in London rather than each other.

"Michael and I have spoken about it and we're OK," said Clary, according to accounts by the Associated Press, USA Today and The New York Times. "He's made it clear to me that there's no hard feelings and since then we've had a couple of good workouts together."

Clary had created a ruckus by telling his hometown paper, The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., that Phelps doesn't work hard as he does and takes his talent for granted. The two swimmers had trained together at the University of Michigan for several years, in advance of the 2008 Olympics where Phelps won his record eight gold medals to break the previous record set by Mark Spitz.

Phelps, for his part, generally says he lets his swimming do his talking. Thursday, after initially saying he wouldn't do interviews during the training camp's designated media-availability , he agreed to take two questions. And indeed, the second one dealt with Clary's remarks.

"I knew that one was coming," Phelps said. "For me right now the only thing I'm worried about is myself and preparing myself to go out and represent my country and step up and wear the stars and stripes and try to swim as fast as I can.

"There's nothing else that needs to be said about it."

The team heads to France on Saturday, where they'll train before going to London. The swimming competition begins on July 28, a day after opening ceremonies.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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