By John Lohn
MELBOURNE, Australia, March 27. A buzz still in the air over his world-record performance in the 200 freestyle from a night earlier, Michael Phelps went back to business in the preliminaries of the 200 individual medley. Gliding through the water, Phelps garnered the No. 1 qualifying mark heading into the semifinals, an effort of 1:58.70.
Not surprisingly, Hungarian Laszlo Cseh was also at the front of the pack, picking up the second slot for the semifinals with a time of 1:58.78. Meanwhile, American Ryan Lochte was sixth behind a cruise-control performance that led to a mark of 1:59.92. It will stunning if the podium positions are occupied by anyone but Phelps, Cseh and Lochte.
Racing next to Phelps in the last prelim heat, Brazilian Thiago Pereira was the third-swiftest performer in the morning, thanks to a swim of 1:59.39. He was followed by Brian Johns of Canada (1:59.45) and Hungary's Tamas Kerekjarto (1:59.67). The seventh and eighth spots went to Lithuania's Vytautas Janusaitis (2:00.21) and New Zealand's Dean Kent (2:00.30).
Check back for an updated story on this event as our team of Senior Writer John Lohn and CEO Brent Rutemiller, on the scene at Rod Laver Arena, provide in-depth coverage, along with radio and TV segments.