Clarification: I want to make it clear that Phelps has had a pretty good meet so far. He is experimenting and taking chances but the 50-free did not work out. All the other events, including the 2nd place finish to Aaron Piersol still denote that Phelps is still the best.
Frederick Bousquet flies to Charlotte at near last minute, swims jet lagged, yet dominates the 50-free against a very impressive field swimming a 21.33. (Cullen Jones placed second in a 21.96 as you probably already know.) It's a 1/2-second-or-so off his WR but still impressive considering how rushed he was to get to the states.
However, the French are doing something right and the Americans are not. Ironically enough Frederick trained at Auburn - Why are American sprinters not as fast? Could it be the suits? I think that is a fair question.
Here is what AP had to say about Phelps in the 50-free: "CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A sprinter, he's not. ..."
Phelps was assigned to lane one in the third of 11 heats — surely the first time in years he's gone that early — and lived down to expectations by touching in 23.24 seconds, far off Frederick Bousquet's world record of 20.94...."
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Photo above: Compiègne - Meeting national - Novembre 2008. - Frédérick Bousquet (Cercle des Nageurs de Marseille), - Photo Nicolas Götz: www.sport-phot.com