OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Michael Phelps is dropping the 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. swimming trials, leaving the 18-time Olympic gold medalist with four events.
Phelps said Sunday night that he won’t compete in the 200 free preliminaries Monday. He didn’t swim Sunday on the opening night of the eight-day meet that determines the U.S. team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
That means his first event in Omaha will be the 200 butterfly Tuesday. Phelps earned silver in the event four years ago in London.
Besides the 200 fly, his remaining events at trials will be 100 fly, 100 freestyle and 200 individual medley.
He won the 200 free at the 2008 Beijing Games, when Phelps earned a historic eight gold medals.
The top six finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyles at trials typically comprise the pool of swimmers available for Olympic relay duty, although anyone else, including Phelps, can be chosen by the coaching staff.
He appears to be a lock for all three relays in Rio, especially since the U.S. men’s coach is Bob Bowman, Phelps’ longtime mentor.
The U.S. will surely need Phelps’ help in the 4×100 free relay after it failed to qualify for the final at last year’s world championships in Russia.