Phelps, Lochte post top two times, qualify for 200 IM final

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It goes without saying that Michael Phelps has been the most dominant swimmer of all time, with 25 medals and 21 of them being gold. Wednesday night he’ll have the opportunity to add to that haul in the 200 IM final, but it won’t be easy. Why? Because teammate Ryan Lochte qualified for the final as well, with his time of 1:56.28 being the second-best time of the semifinal heats.

Phelps finished in 1:55.78, which makes him the top seed for the final.

Both Phelps and Lochte have won medals in this race in each of the last three Olympics, with Phelps taking the gold in all three races and Lochte boasting two silver medals and one bronze. They’re the clear favorites in Thursday’s final, and the only surprises would be if: 1. Phelps didn’t win; 2. If one (or both) of them failed to medal.

Brazil’s Thiago Perreira finished with the third-best time in the semifinal heats, with Japan’s Kosuke Hagino coming in fourth among the eight qualifiers for the final.

Phelps and Lochte are just two of the Americans who managed to qualify for finals Wednesday night. In the women’s 100 free, Simone Manuel swam a time (53.11) that was just nine one hundredths of a second off of the American record. She’ll be joined by Abby Weitzel, who was eighth among qualifiers for the final. Australia’s Cate Campbell posted the fastest time, with her 52.71 second heat establishing a new Olympic record.

Jacob Pebley and Ryan Murphy both qualified for the 200 back final, with Pebley finishing third and Murphy fourth among the eight qualifiers. Russia’s Evgeny Rylov posted the best qualifying time, finishing in 1:54.45. As for the women’s 200 breaststroke, both Lilly King (12th) and Molly Hannis (16th) failed to qualify for the final.