Michael Phelps narrowly qualifies in 400 IM

Charles Robinson
Yahoo Sports


LONDON – Michael Phelps qualified for his first final of these Olympics … just barely.

The superstar of the Beijing Games came stunningly close to missing the medal round of the 400 IM, snagging the eighth and final spot in the race by out-touching Laszlo Cseh by .07 seconds – 4:13.33 to 4:13.40. His time was almost six seconds slower than both his qualifying time in this year’s Omaha trials and his preliminary time in Beijing four years ago. The United States’ other gold medal favorite, Ryan Lochte, finished with the third-best preliminary time, coasting in at 4:12.35 and drawing the No. 3 lane in the final. Phelps will swim in lane eight. Japan’s 17-year-old Kosuke Hagino swam a surprisingly fast heat, going 4:10.01 and locking up the coveted fourth lane in the final.

[ Related: Phelps turns tables on childhood bullies ]

Phelps seemed surprised at his time, stopping in the mixed zone and staring over reporters at one point to watch Lochte’s final, perhaps aware that he was close to being eliminated.

"I don’t know, that one didn’t feel too good," Phelps said. "I just wanted to try and get some good underwaters, try to get some good turns and carry my speed in and out of the walls. A final spot is a final spot.

"You can’t win the gold medal from the morning."

After his heat, Phelps believed he would fall somewhere between “fourth to sixth” in the final, but Lochte’s heat was particularly strong, with five swimmers qualifying for the finals and nearly eliminating Phelps. Phelps seemed to be pacing himself off Cseh, who was the silver medalist behind Phelps in the event in Beijing.

[ Related: Phelps orchestrates a Pharewell Tour to be savored ]

Swimming side-by-side, Phelps carried much of his heat with Cseh, then lost his lead to the Hungarian on the breast stroke and still trailed going into the final 50 meters. That’s when Phelps reclaimed his lead down the stretch in the freestyle, out-touching Cseh in what would be the moment that allowed him to secure a spot in the medal round. Cseh finished ninth and out of the final.

Lochte, who took bronze in Beijing, didn’t appear to swim his best race, either. He coasted in his final two meters and was out-touched by South Africa’s Chad le Clos. But his nonchalant effort was overshadowed by Phelps’ struggles, which cast somewhat of a pall on the "duel-in-the-pool" hype that surrounded the pair going into this race.

"It’s a tough field," Lochte said of Phelps’ securing the final spot. "But he’s in. You can’t count him out, even though he just squeaked in in eighth. We’re going to do everything we can to go 1-2 tonight.

"[My race] didn’t feel so good, but that was my first race. My first race is always the worst. I’m glad I got the cobwebs out. What I had to do was get a lane for tonight, so I’m pretty happy."

What's in Michael Phelps' Olympic dorm room?Phelps describes the room to Yahoo! Sports and what he's doing in his spare time.

More Olympic coverage from the Yahoo! Sports network:
Michael Phelps orchestrates a Pharewell Tour to be savored
Ryan Lochte sets his sights on gold –- and Michael Phelps -– in London
Video: Summer Sanders tests out new Olympic swimsuits

  • Nishikori reaches quarterfinals at Barcelona Open

    Nishikori reaches quarterfinals at Barcelona Open

    BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori reached the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open by beating Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-0, 6-4 Thursday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • When Bosh steps up, Heat reaps benefits

    When Bosh steps up, Heat reaps benefits

    When Chris Bosh scores 20 points in the playoffs, the Miami Heat are nearly impossible to beat. Bosh had exactly 20 in Miami's Game 2 win over Charlotte in their Eastern Conference first-round matchup on Wednesday night. Miami is now 12-2 in … More »

    AP - Sports - 17 minutes ago
  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Repeat offenders, Lady Byng and overtime thrillers

    Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Repeat offenders, Lady Byng and overtime thrillers

    [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever … More »

    Puck Daddy - 33 minutes ago
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges, says he was blackmailed as trial opens

    F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges, says he was blackmailed as trial opens

    MUNICH - Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone rejected accusations of bribery as he went on trial Thursday in a case that could threaten his grip on the sport, telling a Munich court that he was blackmailed by a German banker who received a disputed … More »

    The Canadian Press - 34 minutes ago
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges

    F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges

    Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone rejected accusations of bribery as he went on trial Thursday in a case that could threaten his grip on the sport, telling a Munich court that he was blackmailed by a German banker who received a disputed $44 … More »

    AP - Sports - 35 minutes ago
  • Pineda says he'll learn from ejection for pine tar

    Pineda says he'll learn from ejection for pine tar

    The pine tar glistened on Michael Pineda's neck, improving his grip and inviting trouble. The Yankees' right-hander spoke quietly after being ejected in the second inning of the Red Sox' 5-1 win over New York on Wednesday night. And less than two … More »

    AP - Sports - 53 minutes ago
  • Phelps launches comeback in 100m fly

    Phelps launches comeback in 100m fly

    Returning to swimming after a 20-month retirement, Michael Phelps is easing back into the sport he once dominated by racing one of his best events. The 18-time Olympic gold medalist will swim the 100-meter butterfly at the Arena Grand Prix on … More »

    AP - Sports - 54 minutes ago
  • Quiros, Dyson share lead at China Open

    Quiros, Dyson share lead at China Open

    Alvaro Quiros and Simon Dyson each shot a 5-under 67 to share the lead after the first round of the China Open on Thursday. The pair were a stroke ahead of a group of six golfers that included defending champion Brett Rumford of Australia and … More »

    AP - Sports - 59 minutes ago
  • Radwanska rolls into Stuttgart quarters

    Radwanska rolls into Stuttgart quarters

    STUTTGART, Germany (AP) -- Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Italy's Roberta Vinci 6-3, 6-2 to book her quarterfinal place at the Porsche Grand Prix on Thursday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 59 minutes ago
  • Everest climbing season in disarray after deaths

    Nepal's attempts to salvage the Mount Everest climbing season fell flat Thursday as major expedition companies canceled their climbs and many Sherpas quit the mountain after an avalanche killed 16 of their fellow guides last week. While the season … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 10 minutes ago
  • Comcast's Fandango ticket service buys MovieClips

    (Reuters) - Fandango, a movie ticketing service owned by cable company Comcast Corp, is buying MovieClips from Zefr Inc to boost its film-related content. MovieClips, launched in 2009, licenses movie scenes from various studios, puts them up on … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 32 minutes ago
  • No rest for weary Atletico as Valencia trip looms

    No rest for weary Atletico as Valencia trip looms

    By Tim Hanlon BARCELONA, April 24 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid must put their Champions League ambitions to one side when they look to maintain their surprise La Liga title surge in a tough trip to Valencia on Sunday. They are on the verge of … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 56 minutes ago
  • Dyson enjoys happy return to China, shares lead with Quiros

    (Reuters) - Englishman Simon Dyson, who was handed a suspended two-month ban for cheating in December, fired a five-under-par 67 to grab a share of the first round lead at the European Tour's China Open on Thursday. The Englishman fired six birdies … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 5 minutes ago
  • Formula One boss denies bribery at German trial

    Formula One boss denies bribery at German trial

    By Keith Weir MUNICH Germany (Reuters) - Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone denied bribery allegations on Thursday when he went on trial in Germany in a case that threatens to break the Briton's decades-long dominance of the motor sport. … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 6 minutes ago
  • Ajax extend ban on fans travelling to Feyenoord games

    REUTERS - Ajax Amsterdam have extended the ban on their fans attending away league games against arch-rivals Feyenoord in Rotterdam following the riotous behaviour of supporters in Sunday's Dutch Cup final. It ends hopes that a five-year suspension … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 6 minutes ago
  • Guan, 15, getting used to spotlight

    One year after his stunning debut at the Masters, Chinese 15-year-old golfer Guan Tianlang is growing accustomed to being in the spotlight. The teenager's star has risen quickly in China since his breakthrough at Augusta National, where at the age … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 9 minutes ago
  • Bolton Wanderers to rename the Reebok stadium

    (Reuters) - Bolton Wanderers will change the name of their Reebok stadium to the Macron from July as part of a new deal between the Championship club and an Italian sportswear manufacturer. It will be the first change of name for the second tier … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 16 minutes ago
  • Protesters rally against FIFA president Blatter

    A handful of protesters holding banners and placards demonstrated peacefully Thursday at an event with FIFA president Sepp Blatter to highlight the plight of migrant workers building stadiums in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. Blatter was a guest at … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 17 minutes ago
  • Golf-Dyson enjoys happy return to China, shares lead with Quiros

    Englishman Simon Dyson, who was handed a suspended two-month ban for cheating in December, fired a five-under-par 67 to grab a share of the first round lead at the European Tour's China Open on Thursday. The Englishman fired six birdies and a lone … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 30 minutes ago
  • Postgame: Dirk Nowitzki

    Postgame: Dirk Nowitzki

    Dirk Nowitzki addresses the media following the Game 2 win over the Spurs. … More »

    NBA.com - 2 hours 35 minutes ago
  • Hanyu determined to build on success of Sochi

    Hanyu determined to build on success of Sochi

    Yuzuru Hanyu has barely had time to dwell on the Olympic and world titles he won in the first quarter of 2014, yet he's already thinking about how to improve for next season. Hanyu became the first Japanese man to claim Olympic gold in figure … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 53 minutes ago
  • More teams withdraw, Nepal's Everest season in jeopardy

    By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Several foreign climbing expeditions have called off attempts to scale Everest following an avalanche that killed at least 13 local guides, meaning Nepal faces an entire season without a single ascent of the … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 56 minutes ago
  • No clubs facing FFP European expulsion - Platini

    No clubs facing FFP European expulsion - Platini

    No clubs can expect to be expelled from European competition next season for breaking financial fair play rules, UEFA president Michel Platini said in an interview on Thursday. UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) policy, designed to stop clubs … More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago
  • No clubs facing European expulsion - Platini

    No clubs facing European expulsion - Platini

    No clubs will be kicked out of European competition next season for breaking financial fair play rules, UEFA president Michel Platini said in an interview on Thursday. UEFA's financial fair play (FFP) policy, designed to stop clubs spending more … More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago
  • Fast-breaking Real home in on elusive 10th European crown

    Fast-breaking Real home in on elusive 10th European crown

    By Tim Hanlon BARCELONA (Reuters) - Real Madrid took a step closer to an elusive 10th European Cup with a 1-0 home win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday and the Spanish side will hope to finish off the job in Germany having shown how effective they … More »

    Reuters - 4 hours ago
  • Schalke aiming to seal Champions League spot

    By Karolos Grohmann REUTERS - Schalke 04's season could have a happy ending at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday when they hope to claim a Champions League spot after a rollercoaster campaign punctuated by injury problems. Schalke, who … More »

    Reuters - 4 hours ago
  • Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea

    Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea

    REUTERS - Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is optimistic of returning from injury for the key clash against former team mates and title rivals Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday in a boost for the Premier League leaders. "Hopefully this weekend I'll be … More »

    Reuters - 4 hours ago
  • Confident Bayern promise home improvements against Real

    Confident Bayern promise home improvements against Real

    Holders Bayern Munich promised a sharp improvement when they host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final after failing to convert the lion's share of possession into goals in a 1-0 defeat in Spain on Wednesday. Bayern … More »

    Reuters - 5 hours ago
  • Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter

    Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter

    By Stefanie McIntyre HONG KONG (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has encouraged fans to be optimistic that the World Cup in Brazil will be a success, amid growing concerns over security and public unrest as workers scramble to finish stadiums … More »

    Reuters - 5 hours ago
  • Announcer relishes role as voice of Kentucky Derby

    Announcer relishes role as voice of Kentucky Derby

    From his perch with a panoramic view of the world's most famous racetrack, the new voice of Churchill Downs will sit out one of the most anticipated moments of the tradition-soaked Kentucky Derby. Larry Collmus will try to tune out ''My Old … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 hours ago
  • Confident Bayern promise home improvements against Real Madrid

    Confident Bayern promise home improvements against Real Madrid

    By Karolos Grohmann REUTERS - Holders Bayern Munich promised a sharp improvement when they host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final after failing to convert the lion's share of possession into goals in a 1-0 defeat in … More »

    Reuters - 6 hours ago
  • Wednesday's Sports In Brief

    BOSTON (AP) -- Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected for using pine tar less than two weeks after appearing to get away with using a foreign substance in another game against Boston, and the Red Sox beat New York 5-1 on Wednesday night. … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago
  • Flyers lack punch at home on power play

    Flyers lack punch at home on power play

    Back on their home ice, the Philadelphia Flyers fizzled on the power play. The Flyers ranked 25th in the NHL in power-play efficiency at home during the regular season, scoring on 15.1 percent of their chances. In Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the New … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago
  • Lions welcome new faces at minicamp

    Lions welcome new faces at minicamp

    Their new coach has been to Super Bowls and the Detroit Lions how have two new players who have championship rings. Free-agent acquisitions Golden Tate and James Ihedigbo - who played on the winning side of the last two Super Bowls - finished their … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago
  • Iowa's offense looking to match defense

    Iowa's offense looking to match defense

    Iowa's defense was back among the nation's elite last season. The Hawkeyes' offense failed to follow suit. Getting both units to play at an equally high level will likely be crucial to Iowa's hopes of competing for a Big Ten West title. The … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago
  • Mike Trout robs Bryce Harper with impressive diving catch

    Mike Trout robs Bryce Harper with impressive diving catch

    One phenom robs another. … More »

    Big League Stew - 6 hours ago
  • Stars even with Ducks after 4-2 win in Game 4

    Stars even with Ducks after 4-2 win in Game 4

    The young Dallas Stars keep overcoming early 2-0 deficits. With their latest comeback in Game 4, they are now even with the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks. Down in the series after losing the first two games in Anaheim, the Stars trailed by two goals in … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago
  • Jets returning to SUNY Cortland for training camp

    The New York Jets are holding training camp at SUNY Cortland again this summer, returning to central New York for the fifth time in the last six years. The team trains on the school's campus, located about three hours from the Jets' facility in … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago
  • Road teams off to fast start in playoffs

    Road teams off to fast start in playoffs

    Here's the list of teams that had home-court advantage entering the opening round of these NBA playoffs: Indiana, Miami, Toronto, Chicago, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers. Here's the list of teams that still held … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago
  • Your Top Plays for Today

    Your Top Plays for Today

    Your Top Plays for Today: AP's Sports Guide … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 hours ago