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Phelps heads for unique 10th career gold PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 August 2008

Tue, Aug 12th, 2008 2:15 pm BdST

BEIJING, Aug 12 (bdnews24.com/Reuters) - Michael Phelps, the fifth member of the exclusive nine-gold club, climbs inexorably towards the lone peak of 10 Olympic titles fortified by yet another rampaging performance in Tuesday's semi-finals.

Barely an hour after winning his third Beijing gold with a world record in the 200 metres freestyle final the 23-year-old American swept through his 200 butterfly semi-final in one minute 53.70 seconds, matching the Olympic record he set in the heats.

"I just wanted to win that race, win the heat," said Phelps, who has added three gold medals to the six he collected in Athens in 2004. "I wanted to set everything up for tomorrow… get through that and just prepare myself for tomorrow.

"I'm going to rest up tonight.

"I have to go back and do all that stuff to set myself up for the perfect swim."

Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry, silver medallist in Sunday's 400 individual medley, had to settle for a second silver behind American Natalie Coughlin in the 100 backstroke on Tuesday but claimed pole position for the 200 medley final.

Coventry, bronze medallist in 2004, won her semi-final in 2:09.53 ahead of Australia's Stephanie Rice, her conqueror in the 400 IM, who clocked 2:10.58, and Katie Hoff. Coughlin won the other semi-final in 2:11.84.

European champion Sara Isakovic of Slovenia leads the way into Wednesday's women's 200 freestyle final, having won her semi-final in 1:56.50 ahead of Hoff (1:57.01).

Italy's Federica Pellegrini, who broke the world record in 1:55.45 in Monday's heats, eased to victory in the other semi-final in 1:57.23.

It was a demanding morning for Hoff, bronze medallist in the 400 medley and silver in the 400 freestyle, with two semi-finals to contest.

"I feel good, I'm glad it's over," the 19-year-old American said.

She denied she had any worries chasing that elusive gold medal.

"It's not what it's all about. I'm trying to get in there and get good races and do the best I can. I feel like less pressure because I already have two medals."

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