In his first swim in Beijing, Michael Phelps lowered his own Olympic record in the 400 individual medley. He qualified first for tonight's final with a time two seconds slower than the world record he set at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Phelps was actually under his WR pace for much of the race, but eased up near the end to conserve energy to the first Final. American teammate Ryan Lochte also qualified for finals, posting the 4th fastest time in the heats.
Heats are rarely a good indication of what will happen in Finals, as the best swimmers conserve energy when they know that a 90% effort can get them to the final eight. In this case, though, Phelps' time is a statement. He did what all the other swimmers did -- took a little off his first race. Except when Michael Phelps does it, he sets Olympic records.
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