Olympics 2012: Phelps barely makes it; S. Korea fights Park’s disqualification

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Phelps‘ time in the grueling event that he had vowed not to swim again after Beijing took some of the luster off what was expected to be a showdown between him and Lochte for gold.

“You can’t count him out,” Lochte said of Phelps. “Even though he just squeaked in eighth, he’s a racer. We’re going to do everything we can to go 1-2 tonight.”

Lochte, the bronze medalist in Beijing, has won the 400 IM at the last two world championships.

“My first race is always the worst one,” he said. “I’m glad I got the cobwebs out.”

Dana Vollmer had the fastest qualifying time in the 100 butterfly at 56.25 seconds, setting American and Olympic records, to lead 16 women into the evening semifinals.

“I’m really happy with how fast it was and I think it’s only going to get faster,” she said. “That’s kind of a confidence-booster. I’m ready to go.”

Lu Ying of China was second in 57.17 and Australian Alicia Coutts was third at 57.36. Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, the world record holder, was fourth at 57.45.

American Claire Donahue moved on in seventh, while British teammates Francesca Hall and Ellen Gandy were eighth and ninth, respectively.

Jess Schipper of Australia, the bronze medalist four years ago, was 24th and missed the semifinals by eight spots.

In the 400 free, Sun Yang of China qualified fastest in 3:45.07. American Peter Vanderkaay was second at 3:45.80, followed by his teammates Conor Dwyer in 3:46.24.

Biedermann washed out for the second straight Olympics. He didn’t make it out of the heats in Beijing. He set the world record at the 2009 world meet in Rome at the height of the high-tech body suit craze. Those suits have since been banned.

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