London Olympics: Michael Phelps qualifies fourth in 200 butterfly


LONDON -- There would be none of this too-close-of-a-call-type thing for Michael Phelps in the men’s 200-meter butterfly Monday night.

Phelps won his semifinal heat in the event he has virtually owned for more than a decade. He had the fourth-fastest time, 1 minute 54.53 seconds, but was a mere 0.28 seconds behind leader Takeshi Matsuda of Japan, who won the other heat.

American Tyler Clary, a first-time Olympian, recorded the fifth-fastest time, 1:54.93. Phelps is the two-time defending Olympic champion in the 200 butterfly and holds the world record in the event.


“I’m fine with that,” he said. “Some of those guys close really well. I just wanted to set myself up, not be in Lane 8, not be one the outside, try to move myself closer to center.”

The final is Tuesday night and Phelps is trying to win what would be his 18th Olympic medal, tying him with Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina for most career Olympic medals.

She is 77 years old and could be on hand at the Aquatic Center for the moment.

“I’ll be happy for him if he does it, because he deserves it,” she told the British newspaper, the Independent, in a recent interview. She added another thought, saying: “The only sad part is that he’s not from Russia.”


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