Phelps to swim seven events for swansong
By Julian Linden ,Reuters
July 4, 2012, 12:10 am TWN
OMAHA, Nebraska -- Michael Phelps has dropped the 200-meter freestyle from his schedule for next month's London Olympics, leaving him with seven events for his Games swansong.
The American qualified for eight events at the U.S. Trials, the same number he swam at Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, but ditched the freestyle to focus on the relays.
“I looked at all of the events and it really just came down to the program,” Phelp's coach Bob Bowman told reporters.
“It came down to the 400 IM (individual medley) or the 200 free had to go. I think he'd be good in the in either one but it just made sense to drop the 200 free.”
Phelps triumphed in the 200m freestyle in the Beijing Games when he won an unprecedented eight gold medals but was beaten in the four-lap race at the last two world championships.
The 27-year-old won the 200 at the Olympic trials but in a relatively slow time of one minute of 45.70, well outside the world record currently held by Germany's Paul Biedermann.
“What he did here was quite good but we realized that the level he did here will not be acceptable to win gold medals in London in most of the events,” Bowman said.
“This allows him to focus all of his energy to the 4x100 relay on the second night of the meet without having to do two 200m frees the night before.”
By dropping the 200m free, Phelps will now swim seven events; the 100 and 200 butterfly, the 200 and 400 individual medleys and three relays, and has good chances in all of them and adding to his Olympic stockpile.
He already holds the record for the most gold medals at a single Olympics (eight) and overall (14) and needs just three more medals of any color in London to surpass the overall mark of 18 held by former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.