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LONDON, England, August 1. HUNGARY's Laszlo Cseh led the way in the men's 200-meter IM qualifying heats at the 2012 London Olympics.
Cseh was the only swimmer to break 1:58 with a leading time of 1:57.20. That effort nearly eclipsed the Olympic textile best of 1:57.14 posted by Michael Phelps to win the event in 2004. Cseh is the defending silver medalist, and is looking to breakthrough with his first Olympic gold medal. He has a healthy Olympic career haul with four medals to his name, but he has yet to ascend to the top of the podium. He won silver in three events in Beijing behind Michael Phelps, and took bronze in the 400 IM in 2004.
USA's Ryan Lochte completed a difficult double after qualifying in the 200 back as well. He posted a 1:58.03 in the event. Lochte is the defending bronze medalist, and currently has nine Olympic medals on his resume. He won silver in this event in 2004 as well, and will be looking for his first gold in the event.
“All that celebrating takes a lot of energy out of you, but we're used to it [after winning the 800 free relay],” Lochte said. “I just wanted to step up this morning and get a lane and go through. I just went real smooth. All I wanted to do was to get a lane for the semifinals. The double is going to be tough but I've done the training so I feel good.”
Japan's Kosuke Hagino, who bumped Michael Phelps off the podium with a bronze-winning effort in the 400 IM, is looking for more hardware after qualifying third in 1:58.22. Japan has never medaled in this event since it first began being offered in 1968.
“When I went into the water I felt my body was a bit heavy, and the water was very cold, so I got worried,” Hagino said. “But my time was ok. I want to perform well in the semifinal as well.”
Phelps, meanwhile, will hope the third time is the charm as he looks for the elusive threepeat. He qualified fourth in 1:58.24. He missed out on defending his 200 fly and 400 IM titles earlier in the meet, but has a chance to accomplish the Olympic treble in this event. Only Dawn Fraser and Krisztina Egerszegi have won three straight titles in the Olympics.
Last night, Phelps became the all-time most decorated Olympic athlete with his 19th medal as part of the gold-medal winning 800 freestyle relay. He's looking to add to that tally.
“There was this like madness [after winning his 19th medal],” Phelps said. “I wanted to thank all the people who sent some tweets, [President Barack] Obama and Piquet (Gerard, the Barcelona football player), a bunch of different athletes from all over the world. It was pretty cool. I did not really get much sleep last night. I did not warm down at all. I must have left the dining hall at 11.30, got back to my room probably about 12. I do not really know what time I fell asleep.”
Michael Phelps Olympic Rundown
1 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 6:59.70
2 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:10.38
2 200m Butterfly 1:53.01
4 400m Individual Medley 4:09.28
? 100m Butterfly
? 200m Individual Medley
? 4 x 100m Medley Relay
1 200m Freestyle 1:42.96
1 100m Butterfly 50.58
1 200m Butterfly 1:52.03
1 200m Individual Medley 1:54.23
1 400m Individual Medley 4:03.84
1 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:08.24
1 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 6:58.56
1 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:29.34
1 100m Butterfly 51.25
1 200m Butterfly 1:54.04
1 200m Individual Medley 1:57.14
1 400m Individual Medley 4:08.26
1 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 7:07.33
1 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:30.68
3 200m Freestyle 2004 1:45.32
3 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:14.62
5 200m Butterfly 1:56.50
Brazill's Thiago Pereira (1:58.31), Great Britain's James Goddard (1:58.56), Germany's Markus Deibler (1:58.61) and Austria's Markus Rogan (1:58.66) rounded out the top eight.
Japan's Ken Takakuwa (1:58.82), Brazil's Henrique Rodrigues (1:59.37), South Africa's Chad le Clos (1:59.45), Israel's Gal Nevo (1:59.56), Australia's Daniel Tranter (1:59.70), Lithuania's Vytautas Janusaitis (1:59.84), Great Britain's Joe Roebuck (2:00.04) and Canada's Andrew Ford (2:00.28) also earned spots in the semifinal heats.
Results links, with splits, when available are located at the bottom of the article. Hit refresh to make sure you have the latest version of the story.
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