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Smiles and jokes as Phelps wows France
06:42 AEST Sun Jul 22 2012

American superstar Michael Phelps warmed up for the Olympics on Saturday in France, laughing and cracking jokes with teammates and 2,000 spectators who watched him in training.

"Everyone is smiling, everyone is making jokes," said Phelps at an open public session in the swimming centre at Vichy.

"We are all very excited, we all laugh a lot in and around the pool."

Phelps was the star attraction in Saturday's session along with Ryan Lochte and teenage sensation Missy Franklin.

Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and six golds and two bronzes at the 2004 Athens Games, will dispute seven events at the London Olympics.

"Obviously, we always want to do our best and swim the fastest, they are the main objectives," added Phelps, who hopes to set a new record at the London Olympics.

Three more medals will make him the most successful Olympian of all time, beating the 18 won between 1956 and 1964 by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.

Lochte, a triple Olympic champion, can put a huge hole in Phelps's dreams when the two clash in the 200m and 400m relays.

"We have trained for the last four years for this moment and I am certain our team will be ready for London. As Michael said, we have spent the last two weeks working on any little problems," said Lochte.

Franklin, just 17, was equally optimistic about the team's prospects at the Games.

"I think we will be the fastest in London. When I look at our training and I see the team working so hard for the last two weeks, it's really impressive," said Franklin.

Like Phelps and Lochte, the teenager will also race seven events at the Games.

The US team won over a huge army of fans during their session on Saturday.

"We live just an hour away but we are originally from the United States," said Amy, who was watching with her son Matthew, a fan of Phelps and Lochte.

"My son is a swimmer. He swims in France but he started in the United States."

The American team have been based in Vichy since July 15 and completed their day with a garden party where the swimmers made the most of local food after a week where their eating habits were strictly monitored.

Heading into London, the US team aim to stay top of the medals table in swimming, a position they have held since 1992.

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