Michael Phelps to drop out of 200m freestyle at Olympics
Michael Phelps is dropping out of the 200m freestyle at the London Olympics, leaving him with seven events for his Games swansong.
[EKIMEEZA SPORTS] London 2012 Olympics Splash News:- Phelps, 27, qualified for eight competitions, the same number he swam at Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
“Michael Phelps will be removing the individual 200 freestyle from his Olympic programme. This will give him a full slate of seven events,” his coach, Bob Bowman, said on his Twitter account on Monday. “This change will allow him to focus more energy on relays for Team USA.”
Phelps, who won an Olympic-record eight golds four years ago, has opted to swim in four individual events in London: the 100m and 200m butterfly, and the 200m and 400m individual medley.
Phelps had earned a chance to swim in eight Olympic races at London 2012 after rallying to win the 100m butterfly at the United States Olympic trials in Omaha.
Phelps was slow off the blocks and made the turn in sixth place but he caught Tyler McGill on the return lap and surged to win in 51.14sec, well off his world-record pace (49.82) but fastest in the world this year. “I guess that’s OK,” Phelps said.
McGill hung on for the second Olympic place in 51.32. Ryan Lochte, swimming an event he normally does not in major competitions, just missed adding another race to his already busy programme. He was third, 33-hundreths behind McGill.
The races that really matter are still to come. “It shows that I can do the kind of event programme like this at a high level again,” Phelps said. “We were struggling over the last couple years at doing one event at this level. [It's good] being able to get a couple under the belt this week and hopefully build off of this. It will be good to get home and start heading toward London.”
Seventeen-year-old Missy Franklin will have four individual races in London after capping her week with a dominating win in the 200m backstroke. She is expected to swim all three relays, as well, setting her up to become the first US woman to swim in seven events in a single games. “I can’t believe I have seven events,” the 17-year-old said. “It’s so overwhelming but so exciting. The whole week went really, really well.”
A couple of other races provided quite a generation gap. Fifteen-year-old Kathleen Ledecky earned a place on her first Olympic team with a win in the 800m freestyle, while the 45-year-old Dara Torres advanced to the final of the women’s 50m freestyle – and a shot at her sixth Olympic team – with the third-fastest time in the semi-finals.
“It’s much tougher this time around,” said Torres, who won three silver medals in Beijing but had only one event at the US trials. “People were saying I was middle-aged when I was 41, but I’m really, really middle-aged now.”