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Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

Michael Rock defeats Michael Phelps but US win Duel

Video - Rock stuns Phelps in 200m butterfly

By Ollie Williams
BBC Sport in Manchester

Britain's Michael Rock stole a superb victory over United States swimming legend Michael Phelps, but the US still easily beat Europe at Duel in the Pool.

Rock finished well ahead of Phelps, who wore a slower 2010-style suit, in the men's 200m butterfly in Manchester.

Trailing by 56 points overnight, Europe fought back with wins from Britons Rebecca Adlington, Lizzie Simmonds, Fran Halsall and James Goddard.

But US swimmers set three more world records as their team triumphed 185-78.

"That was a fantastic experience," said Rock, who left Phelps trailing by more than a second as he finished in one minute 51.46 seconds.

"It's just a pleasure to race the Americans and Michael Phelps in front of this amazing crowd, with this amazing atmosphere, and they really got me through that race.

"I train just down the road in Stockport - we've had great results in this meet and I've had a great time."

Phelps wore a textile-based 2010 swimsuit throughout the event while others, including Rock, took advantage of a last chance to wear the ultra-fast 100% polyurethane suits which will be banned in January.

Phelps, who has 14 Olympic gold medals to his name, earlier said he was looking forward to swimming without the ultra-fast suits next year - pointing out team-mate Peter Vanderkaay's 2009 suit as he spoke.

It's been a really difficult year but I'm pleased with that swim

Rebecca Adlington

His defeat did little to prevent a crushing American victory in the two-day event, but the European team, composed of British, German and Italian swimmers, put up a better fight on day two.

The Europeans won six of the 16 races on Saturday, having been defeated in all but three on Friday.

The US suffered an early setback as Adlington stormed to victory in the women's 800m freestyle.

Initially under world record pace, the 20-year-old eased off but finished seven seconds ahead of Keri-Anne Payne, a late call-up to the GB team, in a time of 8:10.59.

With individual races offering five points for a win, three for second and one for third, Adlington's victory gave Europe an early 8-1 lead over the US for the day - barely an inroad into their overnight deficit, but a boost to the fans who once again packed the Manchester Aquatics Centre.

"It's been a really difficult year but I'm pleased with that swim," said Adlington, who took home two bronze medals from the World Championships in Rome.

"You have no idea how much the crowd helps. It has been so much fun, I've enjoyed getting to know people on the European team and having the US come over here is a big thing."

Halsall, twice a winner on Friday, finished third behind Allison Schmitt and Dagny Knutson in her first race of the day, the women's 200m freestyle, setting a new British record in the process.


Following Rock's memorable triumph, she then racked up her third win of the competition with a storming women's 50m freestyle swim, taking the honours in 23.44 seconds.

Britain's Robbie Renwick kept pace with Phelps for much of the men's 200m freestyle, but Phelps himself could only manage third as fellow American Peter Vanderkaay won in a time of 1:42.17 in his ultra-fast suit.

British 18-year-old Simmonds also put her 2009 suit to good use for a final time to win the women's 100m backstroke in a new British record of 56.68 seconds.

"That was fantastic," she said. "The 200m is probably a bit more my event but I just absolutely went for it, and to come away with a result like that - I'm delighted."

Nick Thoman thought he had shaved a fraction off the world record he set on Friday in the men's 100m backstroke, but found himself disqualified, allowing Britain's Liam Tancock to creep into third place behind Matt Grevers and Aaron Peirsol.

Thoman swam too far underwater from the start, leading to his disqualification.

Video - Goddard impresses in 200m medley

That gave fellow American Rebecca Soni the chance to be first to break a world record on Saturday, winning the women's 100m breaststroke in a time of 1:02.70, before team-mate Julia Smit won her 200m medley event in a world record 2:04.60.

Stockport swimmer Goddard won the final individual event, the men's 200m medley, in a time of 1:52.62.

Goddard, who won Commonwealth gold in Manchester in 2002, then paid tribute to fellow "local lad" Rock as he celebrated in front of his home supporters.

America's Dana Vollmer fought back in sensational fashion to rob Simmonds at the death in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay, before the US men's equivalent won the meet finale in a world record time of 3:03.30, with Phelps swimming the final leg.

European select team:

From Britain: David Davies, James Goddard, Thomas Haffield, Michael Rock, Liam Tancock, Christopher Walker-Hebborn, Robbie Renwick, Rebecca Adlington, Francesca Halsall, Hannah Miley, Keri-Anne Payne, Elizabeth Simmonds, Gemma Spofforth, Caitlin McClatchey, Jaz Carlin.
From Germany: Steffen Deibler, Hendrik Feldwehr, Marco Koch, Benjamin Starke, Annika Melhorn, Caroline Ruhnau, Daniela Schreiber, Daniela Samulski.
From Italy: Fedrico Colbertaldo, Christian Galenda, Edoardo Giorgetti, Filippo Magnini, Luca Marin, Joseph Davide Natullo, Fabio Scozzoli, Ilaria Bianchi, Chiara Boggiatto, Caterina Giacchetti, Ilaria Scarcella, Francesca Segat.

United States team:

Nathan Adrian, Mike Alexandrov, Jack Brown, Tyler Clary, Mark Gangloff, Matt Grevers, Michael Klueh, Chad La Tourette, Sean Mahoney, Tyler McGill, Aaron Peirsol, Michael Phelps, Kevin Swander, Nick Thoman, Alex Vanderkaay, Peter Vanderkaay, Garrett Weber-Gale, Elizabeth Beisel, Missy Franklin, Katy Freeman, Jessica Hardy, Margaret Hoelzer, Katie Hoff, Dagny Knutson, Ariana Kukors, Christine Magnuson, Amber McDermott, Hayley McGregory, Mary DeScenza, Elizabeth Pelton, Allison Schmitt, Julia Smit, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, Amanda Weir.

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see also
American stars trounce Europeans
18 Dec 09 |  Swimming
Duel in the Pool day one as it happened
18 Dec 09 |  Swimming
Phelps set to face European test
18 Dec 09 |  Swimming
Phelps cagey on 2012 medal target
17 Dec 09 |  Swimming
GB stars 'can make names' at Duel
25 Nov 09 |  Swimming
US stars 'wary of British threat'
28 Oct 09 |  Swimming
Swimming world records in Rome
03 Aug 09 |  Swimming
Hi-tech suits banned from January
31 Jul 09 |  Swimming

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