SYDNEY, June 30. FORMER Australian head coach Don Talbot last night said young American star Michael Phelps remained unproven on the international stage after the precociously talented teenager had added the 200 meter individual medley world record to his growing stack of achievements.
Phelps's effort in breaking Jani Sievinen's nine-year-old world mark with his 1:57.94 at the Santa Clara International meet yesterday adds to the drama of the showdown between Phelps and Ian Thorpe at July's month's world championships in Barcelona.
Thorpe recently added the event to his program, and last week he and coach Tracey Menzies spoke of the gains he had made in training since clocking a Commonwealth-record 2:00.11 at the Aussie trials in March.
While Thorpe owns world records in the 200, 400 and 800 metres freestyle, Phelps has now matched him record-for-record and can boast far more versatility.
"It's a bit of one-upmanship between the Americans and the Australians. We've got Ian Thorpe and they're trying to say they've got someone even better," Talbot said.
"In the major international meets, Phelps has done nothing yet. Obviously something's going to happen at the worlds, but I think the worlds will be a bit of a crossroads for him to see just what he can do when he gets up against the world's best. But it's a great swim."
Talbot predicted the record would fall again, and certainly in the near future.
"Ian Thorpe might get down there, but so might (Massi) Rosolino, the Olympic champion," Talbot said.
Phelps said he wanted to make a statement ahead of Barcelona. "I wanted to go into the world championships as the No. 1 seed, but I had no idea I'd go a 1:57 tonight," he said last night.
So Don Talbot thinks Phelps has something to prove??
You ain't seen nothin' yet, Don-baby.