By John Lohn
BEIJING, China, August 10. CHAPTER Two of the Michael Phelps saga featured a leisurely stroll through the preliminaries of the 200 freestyle. The world-record holder in the event, just hours after setting a global mark in the 400 individual medley, wasted minimal energy en route to the fourth-fastest qualifying time of the evening.
Racing in the last of eight heats, Phelps produced a time of 1:46.48. That effort was good for second in his heat as Switzerland's Dominik Meichtry was the victor and top qualifier into the semifinals with a performance of 1:45.80. Meichtry was followed into the next round by South Africa's Jean Basson (1:46.31) and Canada's Brent Hayden (1:46.40).
Another Canadian, Colin Russell, was fifth in 1:46.58 while sixth through eighth went to Korea's Tae Hwan Park (1:46.73), Russian Danila Izotov (1:46.80) and Japan's Yoshihiro Okumura (1:46.89). Park was coming off his gold-medal showing in the 400 freestyle, where he became the second-fastest man in history, trailing only Aussie legend Ian Thorpe.
Also advancing to the semifinals were Italy's Emiliano Brembilla (1:47.04), German Paul Biedermann (1:47.09), Great Britain's Ross Davenport (1:47.13), American Peter Vanderkaay (1:47.39), France's Amaury Leveaux (1:47.44), Aussie Nicholas Sprenger (1:47.64), Israel's Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (1:47.78) and Austria's Dominik Koll (1:47.81).