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Phelps, Lochte set showdown in 200m individual medley

08-02-2012 11:55 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

LONDON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian, has set up an enticing duel with compatriot Ryan Lochte in the men's 200m individual medley which falls on Thursday.

Both of them breezed into the final on Wednesday with Lochte the fastest and Phelps the third overall.

Phelps had a slight advantage over Lochte after the butterfly and backstroke in the semifinal, and they were even coming out of the turn at the 100m mark.

Lochte pulled ahead in his breaststroke leg, and raced home to atop the group in 1 minute and 56.13 seconds. Phelp clocked 1:57.11, the third fastest overall to cruise into the final.

Other strong competitors competing for gold include Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, runner-up at Beijing Games, and Brazil's Thiago Pereira, who got a silver in the 400m individual medley last Saturday.

Cseh, who failed to qualify for the 400m individual medley final with a ninth place behind Phelps, aims an revenge in the 200m final to prove he is still the one to beat.

Phelps, with a record 19 Olympic medals and 17 world championship gold medals already in his possession, is the most prolific medalist the Olympics have ever witnessed.

His three medals in London - one gold and two silver - made him surpass former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's record 18 career Olympic medals.

After failing to defend his 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley at London Olympics, Phelps vows to take the chance to retain a third straight Olympic gold in the 200m individual medley. No male swimmer has won the same Olympic event at three successive Games.

Phelps was shut out of medal in the 400m individual medley with a fourth place on the opening day, when Lochte took the gold in an emphatic win.

Then on Tuesday, a glide to the wall cost Phelps another chance for gold. South African swimmer Chad Le Glos capitalised on Phelps' sloppy finish to win his country's first swimming gold in London.

Phelps and Lochte, overwhelming favorites for Thursday's 200m individual medley gold, had victories over each other since last year. Lochte emerged from Phelps's shadow with five titles at the World Championships in Shanghai -- including 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley victories over him. But Phelps sent an undeniable message to his biggest rival by beating him in three out of four events at the U.S. Olympic trials in June.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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