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Phelps gets two wins but Grevers win men's award

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Michael Phelps went 2-for-3 in
consecutive events at the Southern California Grand Prix on Monday
night, swimming faster times in each than he did a year ago.

Phelps opened with the 100-yard butterfly, coming from behind to
beat Matt Grevers in 45.40 seconds.

"I just know that last turn he's going to waste me," Grevers
said.

About 40 minutes later, the six-time Olympic gold medalist
returned for the 100 backstroke. Phelps again rallied to beat Peter
Marshall and Grevers, touching in 45.50 seconds.

Then 45 minutes later, Phelps hit the water for the 100
breaststroke and got beat by 2004 Olympian Mark Gangloff, who
finished first in 53.09. Phelps was timed in 53.41 -- his best by
1.2 seconds.

"Mark is the second-fastest breaststroker we have," Phelps
said. "I saw him at 75 [yards] and I was hoping I could get a
dolphin kick and get past him."

Gangloff knew where Phelps was in the water.

"Breaststroke is my thing and I got him," he said. "That's
not his best stroke so I had to have some pride. He pushes me to be
better than I normally would be, so I can't really complain that he
was in there."

Phelps won five of six finals over three days of short-course
swimming at Belmont Plaza's indoor pool, the same place he opened
last season.

"It surpassed my expectations. He's a lot faster than he was a
year ago at this time and that was his best season ever," said Bob
Bowman, Phelps' coach whose job it is to find fault.

"There's some things he's got to work on. He's got some really
poor turns in the 100 fly. He's still trying to get back to his
peak fitness level, but he's getting closer."

Last year, Phelps produced the greatest performance in world
championships history, setting four individual world records and
winning seven gold medals.

So what do his faster times mean this year?

"I hope it's even better than '07," he said. "I'm more
relaxed this year than I was last year. The most important thing
for me is keeping a steady program of training. Week after week,
month after month of stronger training is the best thing that's
going to help me accomplish my goals this year."

A year ago in Long Beach, Phelps won the 100 back and lost the
100 breaststroke and 100 fly on the final night against world
recordholders in each event.

Grevers, a 22-year-old who trains in Tucson, Ariz., topped
Phelps in overall points to earn the men's award, which almost
always goes to Phelps at meets.

Grevers won the 200 individual medley on the final night to go
with earlier wins in the 50 free, 200 free and 200 back. He was
second to Phelps in the 100 free Saturday.

"This definitely exceeded my expectations," Grevers said.
"I'm going to train even harder. I got a little taste of what my
potential is."

Two-time Olympian Kaitlin Sandeno won the 200 individual medley
and earned the top female performance trophy. Overall, she won four
races and finished third in two others before heading back to Ann
Arbor, Mich., where she trains with Phelps.

"Mentally, I was really excited to come here and that's the
first step going into a meet to do well," she said.

Olympian Tara Kirk defeated a strong field in the 100
breaststroke. She won in 59.11 seconds, the only woman to break 1
minute. Amanda Beard, going for her third Olympic team at 26, was
fourth.

"I'm happy with that, but I just don't like fourth place," she
said. "That's the field I'm going to see at Olympic trials, plus
some others. I have that time to prepare. My body doesn't take
things the way it used to."