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Phelps Refocuses On 200 Medley, Quest For Sixth Medal

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 18, 2004; 9:23 AM

ATHENS, Aug. 18 -- On the day after one of the most exhilarating performances a U.S. swim team has ever experienced at the Olympics, Michael Phelps got back in the pool this morning, trying to concentrate on grabbing his sixth medal of these Games.

Phelps, the 19-year-old from Baltimore County who helped the U.S. men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay team to a stirring gold Tuesday night, posted the second-fastest time in the preliminaries of the 200-meter individual medley this morning. Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, swimming in a different heat than Phelps, was fastest in 1 minute, 59.50 seconds, just ahead of Phelps's 2:00.01.

_____ Day 6 _____
Paul Hamm wins the men's gymnastics individual all-around.
The U.S. women's relay team breaks a 17-year-old record.
Shot putters compete on the site of the original Games.
Venus Williams and Andy Roddick both lose in the third round of the tennis tournament.
American cyclist Tyler Hamilton wins the gold medal, while Dede Barry takes silver in the road time trials.
U.S. boxers triumph in six of their first seven bouts.
The U.S. softball team posts its fifth straight shutout with a 7-0 win over Canada.
U.S. shot putter Adam Nelson settles for silver after five fouls.
Japan's Kosuke Kitajima completes a sweep of Olympic breastsroke events by winning the 200.
The Canadian water polo team pulls off a stunning comeback to beat the United States.
American shooter Kim Rhode rallies to win the gold medal in double trap.
The U.S. double scull of Aquil Abdullah and Henry Nuzum advances in a photo finish.
Greek sprinters withdraw from Games after missing a drug test.
Phelps, Coughlin and Peirsol advance in swimming heats.

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_____ On Our Site _____
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___ Wednesday's Medals Results ___
Women's individual
Men's shot put
Women's shot put
Cycling (Road)
Women's time trial
Men's time trial
Men's single slalom
Women's single slalom
Individual eventing
Team eventing
Women's individual foil
Gymnastics (Artistic)
Men's individual all-around
Men's 90kg
Women's 70kg
Women's double trap
Men's 100 freestyle
Men's 200 breaststroke
Women's 200 butterfly
Women's 4 x 200 freestyle relay
Women's 63kg
Men's 69kg

_____ Multimedia _____
Audio: U.S. women break record.
Audio: The journey to Olympia.

_____ Photos _____
Day 6
Photo galleries page

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Phelps holds the world record in the event -- 1:55.94 -- and will swim in the semifinals tonight and, barring an impossible-to-imagine upset, the final on Thursday evening.

Phelps, who does not have a final on his slate today, said he had trouble getting to sleep following the relay victory.

"There's a lot of emotion around from last night," Phelps said. "I'm a little tired, but I'll get a nap and I'll be better tonight."

The women's 4x200-meter freestyle relay preliminaries were also held this morning, and the American team of Lindsay Benko, Rhi Jeffrey, Carly Piper and Rachel Komisarz posted the fastest time. Women's coach Mark Schubert must now decide on a lineup for tonight's final, one that will almost certainly include Natalie Coughlin, gold medalist in the 100 backstroke, and Dana Vollmer, the Americans' fastest swimmer in the 200 free.

Schubert declined to reveal his lineup after the morning preliminaries. Whoever swims in the event, though, will draw inspiration from the men's performance Tuesday night.

"If there's not a carry-over from last night's relay," Schubert said, "there'll never be a carry-over."

In other preliminaries involving Americans, Kara Lynn Joyce and Coughlin both advanced to the semifinals of the 100 free; Aaron Peirsol, the gold medalist in the 100 back, was the fastest in the heats of the 200 back; Amanda Beard, silver medalist in the 200 IM, was third-fastest in the 200 breaststroke, with Caroline Bruce eighth.

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