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Phelps seconds in 200 medley at World Cup meet

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BERLIN (AP)

Racing in an old-style swimsuit and on little practice, Michael Phelps had to settle for second place in the 200-meter individual final behind Darian Townsend of South Africa, who broke one of the 16 world records set in two days of competition at a short-course World Cup meet.

Phelps ended his weeklong European tour with no wins in two meets, let alone any records. Still, the American wasn't complaining - at least not that much.

"I prefer not to lose, but I knew coming in that it would be very, very hard to win anything," Phelps said.

"I raced as hard as I could, I've gotten some racing under my belt and that's what we set out to do. Maybe it's better for me that I lost today, it gives me better motivation for the future," he said.

"I am pleased with the week as much as I can be, with how much training I've done, which is little. And it shows."

Phelps won an unprecedented eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics but he still uses the old-style, textile knee-length suit rather than the high-tech full-body swimsuits most of his rivals compete in. Phelps' suit will become the standard on Jan. 1, however, and he feels he may have an advantage when the rest of the field returns to them.

"Considering the suit he's wearing and the shape he is, I'll take it," Phelps' coach Bob Bowman said of his swimmer's performances in the two meets. "It could have been worse."

In Stockholm earlier this week, Phelps also finished second in the 200 medley and missed three finals. In Berlin, he missed two finals and was fifth in the 200 butterfly Saturday.

Townsend also beat Phelps in Stockholm and this time the difference was again more than 2 seconds.

The South African powered home in 1:51.55 to break Ryan Lochte's world mark by one-hundredth of a second. Phelps clocked 1:53.70.

In the two meets this week, 25 world records fell as swimmers seek to rewrite record books before the current high-performance suits are banned. More records are likely to be broken at the upcoming World Cup meet in Singapore, the European short-course championships and an All-Star meet in December.

Earlier Sunday, Phelps failed to qualify for the 200-meter freestyle final and spoiled an anticipated showdown with his German rival Paul Biedermann. Biedermann beat Phelps in the same event at the world championships in August in Rome and took away his world record. Until this week, Phelps had not competed since.

Biedermann shattered his second world record in two days when he won the 200 butterfly final in 1:39.37, slashing nearly 1.5 seconds off his old mark.

The German also broke the 400 freestyle record Saturday.

Several other swimmers broke two records in two days in Berlin: Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa in the men's 50 and 100 breaststroke; Shiho Sakai of Japan in the women's 100 and 200 backstroke; and Leisel Jones of Australia in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.

Among the 10 record breakers Sunday was Jessica Hardy of the United States, who lowered her own 50-meter breaststroke mark to 28.80, after swimming 28.96 in Stockholm four days ago.