Confident D'Arcy eyes off Phelps
ELEVATED physically and mentally by his best-ever preparation, Olympics-bound Nick D'Arcy is staring down US great Michael Phelps after boldly declaring his intention to swim history's quickest non fast-suit 200m butterfly in London.
With the Olympic 200m fly final 11 weeks away today, D'Arcy yesterday said he expected to smash his personal-best time for the event.
The Coast product - untethered from his legal dramas and speaking with a degree of surety needed when eyeing arguably the greatest swimmer ever - aims to clock a blistering 1min 52sec in London.
That would be about half a second outside Phelps' world record, which was set at the 2009 world championships in Rome in a now-outlawed fast suit, and more than two seconds quicker than the Queenslander's PB.
Phelps, the reigning Olympic 200m butterfly champion, set the best non fast-suit time (1:53.34) in winning gold at the 2011 world championships in Beijing.
"Training is going absolutely fantastic at the moment," D'Arcy said.
"Everything in the pool and out of the pool, for that matter, is going great guns.
"I'm doing stuff I haven't been able to do before, which is pretty exciting, to be honest."
He added: "Eleven weeks is not a short time. But all the indications at the moment are it's going to be a good preparation for me, and it's going to enable me to do something that I've never done before."
D'Arcy, who will make his Olympic debut in London after being banned from competing at the 2008 Beijing Games over the assault of ex-swimming star Simon Cowley, leaves for the US on Friday with his Brisbane-based squad for two Californian meets.
The main one is the Santa Clara International Grand Prix from May 31 to June 3.
It was at that event last year that the 24-year-old beat Phelps in a time of 1:55.39.
D'Arcy said he was disappointed to learn the superfish would not contest the meet this year, as he viewed it as a great opportunity to further gauge his form.
On the weekend, Phelps finished second behind China's Wu Peng in the 200m butterfly at the Charlotte Grand Prix in the US, recording a time of 1:56.87.
D'Arcy cautioned against over-analysing the 14-time Olympic gold medallist's performance, given he was in the midst of heavy training ahead of the US Olympic trials in June-July.
"I think you've always got to be wary of Michael. He might be the greatest athlete of all time," he said.