By John Lohn
OMAHA, Nebraska, July 1. THE Michael Phelps freight train keeps on rolling. Grabbing his second Olympic nod, to complement the one he earned on the first night of action in the 400 individual medley, Phelps scared his world record in the 200 freestyle, settling for a convincing victory in 1:44.10. The effort was just off his global mark of 1:43.86.
Phelps took the race out strong and was equal to world-record pace at the 100-meter mark and just off the pace at the 150-meter turn. Although Phelps wasn't able to match the time he produced at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, he's likely to make a run at the standard next month in Beijing.
Picking up the second individual slot for China was Phelps' teammate at Club Wolverine, Peter Vanderkaay. Ranked second in the world in the event last year, Vanderkaay held strong through the finish and touched the wall in 1:45.85. That effort finished just ahead of Ricky Berens, who posted a time of 1:46.14. However, Berens collected on the of the six bids for the 800 free relay.
Finishing fourth was two-time Olympian Klete Keller, who covered the distance in 1:46.20. Keller is a member of the world-record holding 800 free relay. He was joined as a relay qualifier by Dave Walters (1:46.64) and Erik Vendt (1:46.95), who dug deep and assured a berth in his third Olympics. Earlier in the meet, Vendt was third in the 400 free.
"The potential we can have at the Olympic Games with our four fastest guys…" Phelps said. "Who knows what we can do."
Just missing the relay were Danny Beal (1:47.56) and Larsen Jensen (1:47.71). Ryan Lochte, who qualified second for the final, opted to scratch the event and focus on the 100 back final. However, Lochte is a near lock to be on the 800 free relay in Beijing.
"It's a dream come true," Vendt said. "It's surreal to make it in this event."
Video Footage Removed Due to NBC Restrictions
Go to Swimming World's 2008 Olympics Landing Page for the most comprehensive coverage of the meet on the Internet.