Manchester: Eight-times Beijing Olympic champion Michael Phelps finished the two-day Duel in the Pool contest on Saturday with just one individual win from four races.
Phelps swam throughout the meeting between the United States and a European selection in the textile shorts which will be mandatory from Jan. 1 next years.
His opponents were uniformly dressed in the polyurethane bodysuits which will be banned after the swimming governing body FINA decided they artificially boosted performances. More than 250 world records have been set in the polyurethane suits.
The Americans easily won the team event against a side comprising competitors from Britain, Italy and Germany by 185-78. They also set each of the eight world short-course records broken at the Manchester Aquatics Centre.
On Friday, Phelps, who was swimming for the first time in a British pool, won the 100 metres butterfly by five-hundredths of a second and finished third in the 100 freestyle.
He finished third again in Saturday’s 200 freestyle and was beaten into second place in the 200 butterfly, one of his Olympic titles, by Briton Michael Rock. He did, however, have the consolation of helping the Americans to set world records in the 4x100 medley and freestyle relays.
Rock, seventh equal in the Rome world championships final this year, told reporters it was the greatest experience of his life to beat Phelps. But he deflected questions about the difference in the suits, saying the bodysuit was still legal at the moment.
Phelps said he had been a bit disappointed with his individual results.
“This is more of a team event than anything else,” he said. “I had a meet race before I came here and I knew I had 75 percent of a good 200.
“I’ve done the same thing out here. There was one 50 in both 200s that could have been better. That’s me just not being in great shape but I know what I have to improve on and I know what I have to do better to swim a full 200.”
Phelps, who failed to record a victory in two World Cup short-course races last month, also refused to be drawn on the suit issue.
“The race is over and he swam a better race that I did,” he said. “I’d rather lose races now than when it really counts.
On Saturday, world champion Rebecca Soni set the first of the day’s three world records when she became the first woman to swim under 63 seconds for the 100 metres breaststroke. Soni, who broke the 200 mark on Friday, clocked 62.70 seconds.
Her American team mate Julia Smit clocked a world-record 2:04.60 in the women’s 200 metres individual medley.
Nick Thoman, who broke the world 100 backstroke record in the opening leg of the 4x100 medley on Friday, sliced one-hundredth of a second from his mark of 48.94 but was then disqualified.
Britain’s double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, well beaten in the 400 metres on Friday, made no contest of the 800 metres, the opening event on Saturday.
Adlington won in 8:10.:59 ahead of fellow Briton Keri-Anne Payne, the world 10-kms open water champion.
The Americans remain undefeated in Duel in the Pool contests after beating Australia three times.