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OMAHA, Nebraska, June 27. EITHER Michael Phelps decided to follow an Aaron Peirsol route of going easy in prelims, or some of the country is beginning to catch up to him in his best event in the men's 200 fly at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
There was a time when even a cruising Phelps would have still dominated preliminary qualifying, but that did not happen today as the two-time defending champion tied for third with a 1:57.75. Phelps is looking to join Gary Hall Jr., and Brendan Hansen as men to have threepeated an event. Gary Hall Jr. did it in 2004 with a win in the 50 free, defending his 1996 and 2000 titles. Last night, Hansen pulled off the trifecta in the 100 breast with wins in 2004, 2008 and now 2012.
Bobby Bollier of Stanford, meanwhile, earned the top seed heading into semis with a 1:56.69, while FAST's Tyler Clary placed second in 1:57.23. Clary is looking for any way onto the Olympic team right now after falling to Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in the men's 400 IM on the first night. Three Village's Thomas Luchsinger tied Phelps for third with a 1:57.75 of his own, while Michigan's Dan Madwed posted a 1:58.27 for fifth.
A pair of lifetime bests went to sixth and seventh place as Nashville's Dakota Hodgson (1:58.51) and Carolina's Michael Flach (1:58.56) moved into the top eight, while Mark Dylla of Athens Bulldog rounded out the top eight.
Four other swimmers needed lifetimes best to make semis as Neil Caskey (1:59.27), Tom Shields (1:59.48), Will Hamilton (1:59.59) and Dominick Glavich (2:00.03) all posted personal bests to qualify.
Bobby Bollier — 1:56.69
Tyler Clary — 1:57.23
Thomas Luchsinger — 1:57.75
Michael Phelps — 1:57.75
Dan Madwed — 1:58.27
Dakota Hodgson — 1:58.51 (lifetime best)
Michael Flach — 1:58.56 (lifetime best)
Mark Dylla — 1:58.70
David Mosko — 1:58.88
Neil Caskey — 1:59.27 (lifetime best)
Davis Tarwater — 1:59.35
Tom Shields — 1:59.48 (lifetime best)
Robert Margalis — 1:59.55
Matt Patton — 1:59.55
Will Hamilton — 1:59.59 (lifetime best)
Dominick Glavich — 2:00.03 (lifetime best)