CHARLOTTE, May 18 – France's Frederick Bousquet beat Beijing Olympic hero Michael Phelps in a 100-meter freestyle final Sunday at the Charlotte UltraSwim, delivering the US star's second loss in a row.Bousquet, in his first meet since setting a 50m free world record last month, seized the lead at the start and won the showdown in 48.22 seconds with Phelps runner-up in 49.04 and US Olympian Ricky Berens third in 49.66.
"When you race that guy, you can’t count on your back-end speed to beat him," Bousquet said. "I had to use my strength, my speed, and go out as fast as I could – 22.08 was not too bad going out.
"We came back at the same speed in the second 50. That’s good for me. I’m happy with it."
Phelps, who had not lost a final in a year until world record-holder and Olympic champion Aaron Peirsol beat him in the 100 back on Saturday, suffered his second finals defeat in a row after 200 free and 100 butterfly victories on Friday.
"I need to have some of Fred’s front-end 50 speed," Phelps said. "Fred is swimming really awesome."
Phelps, upset at making an extra stroke at the turn and another at the end, used his new straight-arm sprint stroke for 25 meters to the turn, switched to his usual stroke to approach Bousquet, then finished with the windmill stroke.
"The biggest thing I’m upset about was my turn and my finish were awful," Phelps said. "I’m kind of mad at myself because I wanted to break 49. To be .05 off with two stupid mistakes, it’s frustrating.
"I usually don’t mess up the little things like that. I have to go back and focus. It’s a lot of small things I need to fix. There are some things I’m still perfecting. Before long I’ll be able to do it for a whole 100."
Twin losses in his first meet since taking a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics will send Phelps into three weeks of high-altitude training at Colorado with new inspiration to work on his new stroke.
"It’s something that will motivate me," Phelps said. "I always train better after a meet. If you have things that upset you, that’s what helps you get back in the water to get things done."
Bousquet wore the controversial red Jaked high-tech supersuit as he did last month when he posted the third-fastest time in 100 free history with a 47.15 at the French national championships in Montpellier.
FINA will meet Monday in Switzerland to decide about the legality of the suit, which critics say uses compression and buoyancy to help boost speed. FINA could ban Bousquet’s suit.
"If it does, I’m going to adapt to it," said Bousquet. "If not, I will be fine. I’m not going to fight it or go against them. FINA are the masterminds."
The Frenchman took extra motivation from facing Phelps, who withdrew from the 50 free final that Bousquet won Saturday.
"I don’t like swimming 100s in season," Bousquet said. "The fact he was in the race and in the lane next to me helped me get my head into it and get motivated.
"I would like to get him down to the 50. I don’t want to stay around too long in the 100. With the years coming, I don’t think I will beat him too many more times in the 100."
Bousquet cited Phelps’s stroke switches as a reason to feel he will not long be able to beat the American.
"To go 49.0 and change strokes a couple of times during the race, that’s very impressive," Bousquet said.
Phelps, making his first strokes toward the 2012 London Olympics, ranks fourth on the all-time 100 free performers’ list with the ninth-fastest time ever in the event, a 47.51 from a relay leg last August at Beijing.
"For my first meet back, it’s great," Phelps said. "These are great times for me to swim. I’m right where I want to be. I’m happy to be back in the pool and happy to have my first meet behind me."
Phelps will swim again in June at Santa Clara and Montreal ahead of July’s US championships, the world meet qualifier.