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Phelps to swim seven Olympic events
Rebecca Bryan
06:27 AEST Tue Jul 3 2012

Superstar swimmer Michael Phelps won't try to replicate his glittering eight-gold haul of 2008 at the London Olympics.

His coach, Bob Bowman, announced on Twitter that Phelps wouldn't swim the 200m freestyle in London, although he won it over rival Ryan Lochte at the US Olympic swimming trials.

"Michael Phelps will be removing the individual 200 freestyle from his Olympic program," Bowman tweeted. "This will give him a full slate of 7 events.

"His change will allow him to focus more energy on relays for Team USA."

After winning an unprecedented eight golds in Beijing to take his tally of Olympic golds to 14, Phelps said he wouldn't swim eight events again.

But at the trials, which conclude on Monday night, he qualified in exactly the same eight events: the 100m and 200m butterfly, 200m freestyle and 200m and 400m individual medleys. He's expected to swim three relays.

Phelps, whose 16 Olympic medals include 14 gold and two bronze, will still be able to surpass Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina for the most Olympic medals won in a career -- 18 -- but he would only be able to match her total of 14 individual Olympic medals.

With Phelps's withdrawal, Ricky Berens gains the second spot on the US team in the 200m free after finishing third in the event at trials behind Phelps and Lochte.

Asked what Phelps's withdrawal meant for US hopes in the event in London, men's head coach Gregg Troy said: "It means Ricky Berens is going to go real fast."

Troy said no one on the US team coaching staff would second-guess Phelps's decision.

"I don't think there's many people that want to challenge the program that Michael swims," Troy said. "Ricky's going to take up the challenge and Michael is going to be fresher for the relays."

The men's 4x100m freestyle relay has been a big topic of conversation at the US trials. On paper, the Americans are underdogs against an Australian team expected to feature the season's dominant sprinters of James Magnussen and James Roberts, while France and Russia have plenty of sprinting talent as well.

Troy said he didn't think Phelps's withdrawal from the 200m free signalled a special emphasis on the 4x100m freestyle relay.

"Relays are always serious," Troy said. "It's more relative to it being a tough program Michael swims. He's a lot older and those older guys don't recover as quickly."

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