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Short Course World Champs, Day One: Phelps Takes the 200 Free -- October 7, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS, October 7. MAGNIFICENT Michael Phelps kicked off the 7th FINA Short Course World Championships tonight the same way he ended the Athens Olympics six weeks ago: with a gold medal.

Seeded second after this morning's prelims behind Canada's Rick Say, the Baltimore Bullet went out hard, taking the lead at the start and slowly extending it over a game Say on every lap. At the wall, it was Phelps in 1:43.59, followed by Say at 1:44.39 and the USA's Ryan Lochte at 1:44.97.

“I wanted to get out there the first 100,” said Phelps. “I knew Rick was going to go out. I wanted to try to at least stay with him or have a good feeling of the race after the first 100. My goal was 1:44 and I exceeded that, so I’ll take 1:43.

For his part, Say conceded, to race against Michael Phelps, of course I am going to get second. He’s the best in the world.

Former NBA great Larry Bird presented the medals to the winners.

--P. Whitten