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Phelps Drops 200 Free, Bid for 8 Golds in London

No one should be expected to do that twice. Once was more than enough," coach says

By PAUL NEWBERRY
|  Monday, Jul 2, 2012  |  Updated 1:30 PM EDT
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Phelps Drops 200 Free, Bid for 8 Golds in London

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Michael Phelps has scratched the 200-meter freestyle.

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There won't be a Beijing repeat in London. Michael Phelps has dropped one of his eight Olympic races.

Phelps' coach, Bob Bowman, announced Monday on the final day of the U.S. swimming trials that Phelps was scratching the 200-meter freestyle, leaving him with seven events at the London Games. The decision removes the chance of Phelps matching the record eight gold medals he won in Beijing.

"It makes sense," Bowman said. "No one should be expected to do that twice. Once was more than enough."

Phelps qualified in five individual events for London and is expected to swim all three relays. But he's decided to focus on the 200 and 400 individual medley and the 100 and 200 butterfly.

Bowman said his main concern was Phelps being fresh for the 400 freestyle relay. While the U.S. has traditionally dominated that event, the Australians are favored for London. The relay was one of Phelps' closest calls in Beijing, with teammate Jason Lezak coming from behind on the anchor leg to beat a strong French squad.

The relay final is on the same day as the preliminaries and semifinals of the 200 freestyle.

"We respect the challenge we're up against," Bowman said with a smile, "and perhaps we'll be more ready than people think."

Bowman said he raised the possibility of dropping an event early in the week, and Phelps was fine with it when they discussed it again after his final race of the trials Sunday night.

"When we talk about technical things, he sees the logic of it quite easily," Bowman said.

With Phelps dropping the 200 free, Ricky Berens moved up to claim an individual spot on the Olympic team for the first time. He was already scheduled to swim the 400 and 800 free relays.

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