Phelps to try new freestyle technique

Michael Phelps is following up his record performance at the Beijing Olympics by changing some of the swimming technique that carried him to eight gold medals. As the Baltimore resident shifts to focusing on shorter races, he hopes the new freestyle technique will increase his sprinting speed. "You'll all have to see. I'm not saying anything until we unveil it," Phelps said in New York when asked how he has tweaked the stroke. "It's a significant change." Phelps will reveal the new technique when he returns to competition at the Charlotte (N.C.) UltraSwim on May 14-17 in North Carolina, his first meet since Beijing. He plans to swim four events, including the 100- and 200-meter free and the 100 butterfly.

Polo: Twenty-one prized horses that mysteriously died before one of the sport's top championships were given a supplement that likely caused their deaths, the leader of the Venezuelan-owned team told an Argentine newspaper. Juan Martin Nero, of Lechuza Polo, told the newspaper La Nacion that the horses were given a supplement known as Biodyl, which contains a combination of vitamin B12, a form of selenium called sodium selenite and other minerals. Florida authorities have started an investigation to determine whether the deaths were intentional or accidental.

Baseball: The Rangers put right-hander Kris Benson, an ex-Oriole, on the 15-day disabled list with elbow tendinitis. Scott Feldman will start in Benson's place Saturday against the Orioles. Benson is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA. ... Tigers outfielder-designated hitter Marcus Thames was placed on the DL and is expected to be sidelined for more than a month because of a strained ribcage muscle.

NFL: Former Bears defensive lineman William "The Refrigerator" Perry remained hospitalized at Aiken (S.C.) Regional Medical Center, where spokeswoman Melissa Summer said he is in serious condition. Perry, 46, was hospitalized to deal with complications from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a chronic inflammation disorder of the peripheral nerves. ... New executive director DeMaurice Smith has been working for the NFL Players Association without a contract for six weeks while a deal is being negotiated, the Associated Press reported. ... Former Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith was pulled over Wednesday and found with crack cocaine and marijuana in his car, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Smith faces multiple drug charges.

College lacrosse: Eric Ososki scored his second goal of the game with 1:59 left in overtime to lift visiting Mount St. Mary's over VMI, 8-7. Brett Leonard (four goals) scored for the Keydets (2-11, 1-6 Metro Atlantic) with 1:48 remaining to force overtime. The Mount improved to 4-8, 4-3.

NASCAR: Richard Childress Racing will swap the crews for slumping drivers Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears after this weekend's Aaron's 499 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

Tennis: Rafael Nadal, who had a first-round bye, began his bid for a fifth straight title at the ATP Barcelona Open by beating Frederico Gil, 6-2, 6-2, in the second round.

From Sun staff and news services

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