Michael Phelps drops 200 free, will compete in seven events in London

Chris Chase
Fourth-Place Medal

Michael Phelps won't try for another eight gold medals at the London Olympics.

Though he was eligible to swim eight events at the upcoming Games, the 14-time gold medalist has scratched the 200 freestyle to cut back his program to seven events -- four individual and three relay -- in what he's said will be his final Olympics. That's one less than he swam in his historic performance in Beijing.

[ Photos: Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte ]

Phelps won the 200 free at U.S. trials but figured to face some of the stiffest international competition in the powerhouse race. Withdrawing also gives him some much-needed extra recovery time. Phelps will now get a day off from individual swimming on the second day of the competition, one day after he competes in the grueling 400 IM. Instead of swimming heats and semis of the 200 on the opening Sunday of the Games, he'll likely swim one leg of the 4x100 freestyle relay.

The 200 free final is scheduled for Monday night, the same day Phelps will race in 200 fly heats and semifinals. Dropping those three swims give him more rest, and getting out of the stacked 200 gives him a more manageable slate in his pursuit to become the all-time medalist at the Olympics. Phelps has most likely taken bronze or a disastrous no-medal performance out of the equation in his individual races.

He will be heavily favored in the 100 and 200 fly, will be a co-favorite with Ryan Lochte in the 200 IM and is a slight underdog to his American rival in the 400 IM. Barring disaster, there's no medal other than gold or silver at play in any of those races. (The relays are a different story.)

[ Photos: Olympic swim trials ]

Phelps made waves two weeks ago when he released a seven-event schedule for the U.S. Olympic trials, raising the possibility that he would swim 10 in London. Then he finished his trials on Sunday night with eight swims possible at the Olympics. That was all noise. Seven is almost certainly the number Michael Phelps and his coach, Bob Bowman, have had in mind for months.

Ricky Berens, a relay gold medalist in 2008, will take Phelps' spot in the 200.

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