Nick D'Arcy

Good swim: Michael Phelps (left) congratulates Australia’s Nick D’Arcy on his win in the 200m butterfly at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix. Picture: AP
Source: AP

AUSTRALIA'S Nick D'Arcy signalled a spectacular return to form by defeating superstar Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix in California.

D’Arcy, racing in his first competitive meet after a lengthy layoff due to illness and injury, chased down Phelps in the final 25m to clock one minute and 55.39 seconds, winning by just one hundredth of a second today.

The 23-year-old Queenslander becomes only the second man in nine years to beat the American great in his pet event, after China’s Wu Peng ended a streak of 60 consecutive wins by beating him twice earlier this year.

D’Arcy turned the tables on Phelps after finishing second to him in the 100m fly in his comeback race at the same meet on Friday.

Having undergone ankle surgery in January and been unable to swim at the Australian Championships in April due to a liver function illness, D’Arcy had not raced competitively since missing out on the final of the 200 fly a last year’s Delhi Commonwealth Games.

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He will not compete at next month’s world championships in China.

Phelps took comfort in the close finish and believes he’s on pace to be at his best for the world championships.

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