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LONDON, England, August 1. RYAN Lochte completed a successful double, advancing in both the 200 back and 200 IM tonight, including taking the top seed in the men's 200-meter IM at the 2012 London Olympics.
In semifinal one, with Michael Phelps in the same heat, Lochte turned in a 1:56.13. That swim cleared Phelps' Olympic textile best of 1:57.14 set at the 2004 Athens Olympics, putting Phelps' overall Olympic record (1:54.32) next on the list. Lochte qualified second in the 200 back earlier in the evening as he looks to add to his overall medal haul of nine in his career.
Lochte was more concerned with his teammate Nathan Adrian's success in the men's 100 free than to talk about his double to the media.
“Me and Michael [Phelps] were in the Ready Room watching,” Lochte said of Adrian's touchout win over James Magnussen in the 100 free. “We just went nuts. We were screaming and everything. That was one of the greatest finishes and we are so happy for him.”
Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, who has won three silver medals behind Phelps, all at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is working to break through that glass ceiling. He qualified second in 1:56.74, just off his silver-winning time of 1:56.52 from 2008. If he can pull off the upset, he would join Tamas Darnyi and Attila Czene as Hungarians to win the title.
“That was good but if I want to get a medal I need to improve in the final,” Cseh said. “I have a good chance of winnng a medal, but there are two good Americans Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in there. I said it was not good after the 200 fly. I did everything wrong. It was a terrible feeling.”
Phelps posted a third-seeded time of 1:57.11, and is now in the first-man-to-threepeat slot after Kosuke Kitajima missed the podium in the men's 200 breaststroker earlier tonight. Phelps, who already became the most decorated Olympian of all time with his 19th medal last night, has one more unprecedented goal to attain — a male threepeat. Only Dawn Fraser and Krisztina Egerszegi have won three straight gold medals in a single event. No male has done so.
“I felt fine. I just tried to stay focused,” Phelps said. “In the Ready Room we (Lochte) were both cheering just crazy. We've had a great week so far. We said in the team meeting yesterday we are only half way done and we are just starting to pick up more and more steam so hopefully we can finish it. We [Lochte] love racing against each other. Neither one of us likes to lose. I like to say we bring out the best in one another.”
Brazil's Thiago Pereira (1:57.45), Japan's Kosuke Hagino (1:57.95), Japan's Ken Takakuwa (1:58.31), Great Britain's James Goddard (1:58.49) and South Africa's Chad le Clos (1:58.49) all earned spots in the championship finale. Le Clos later scratched to focus on the 100 fly, thus bringing Markus Deibler of Germany (1:58.88) into the mix.
Markus Rogan was disqualified for an illegal dolphin kick after the turn from backstroke to breaststroke. The Austrian swimming federation lodged a protest against the decision, which was denied by officials. It initially would not have mattered anyway, as an overturning of the DQ would have placed Rogan ninth and out of the final. However, le Clos' scratch put him in position to potentially make the final if the DQ would have been overturned.
“I had a feeling (this morning) that this would be my last day as an athlete,” Rogan told Austrian news website Kurier.at. “I fought in the semifinals for a career extension (to swim in the finals).”
Rogan is likely ending an illustrious Olympic career that includes two silver medals in the backstrokes in 2004 and a fourth-place finish in the 200 back in 2008. He was expected to be a medal contender in the 200 IM tomorrow after a fifth-place finish at the 2011 world championships. He was an NCAA champion in the backstrokes and 200 IM for Stanford University.
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