What's buzzing:

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

  • Yedlin joins Newcastle on five-year deal

    Yedlin joins Newcastle on five-year deal

    (Reuters) - DeAndre Yedlin has joined Championship (second tier) side Newcastle United on a five-year deal from Tottenham Hotspur for an undisclosed fee, the clubs have announced. The 23-year-old full back spent last season on loan at Newcastle's … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Altidore, Giovinco help Toronto FC beat Orlando City 2-1

    Altidore, Giovinco help Toronto FC beat Orlando City 2-1

    Jozy Altidore scored in the 86th minute, Sebastian Giovinco had two assists and Toronto FC beat Orlando City 2-1 on Wednesday night. Toronto (12-7-7) won its sixth game during a seven-game unbeaten streak and moved past New York City FC atop the … More »

    The Canadian Press - 21 minutes ago
  • Sydney rain forces changes in Cal, Hawaii training schedules

    Sydney rain forces changes in Cal, Hawaii training schedules

    SYDNEY (AP) -- Heavy rainfall in Sydney over 12 hours into early Thursday morning forced changes to the practice schedules for California and Hawaii just two days away from their college football season-opener at the Olympic stadium. … More »

    AP - Sports - 30 minutes ago
  • Dodgers top Giants 1-0, take 3-game lead

    Dodgers top Giants 1-0, take 3-game lead

    Rich Hill pitched six dominant innings in his first start with Los Angeles and Justin Turner hit his 24th homer, lifting the Dodgers over the San Francisco Giants 1-0 on Wednesday night. Los Angeles has a three-game lead over the Giants atop the NL … More »

    AP - Sports - 48 minutes ago
  • SportsFlash - Hope Solo suspended 6 months

    SportsFlash - Hope Solo suspended 6 months

    Yahoo Sports presents a quick recap of the morning's top stories including a suspension for Hope Solo, Ryan Lochte's possible next move and the ugly contract situation brewing in San Diego. … More »

    Yahoo Sports Videos - 1 hour 14 minutes ago