posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 01:03 PM
Athens, Greece (Sports Network) - Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe edged out rising American Michael Phelps in a semifinal heat of the men's 200-meter
freestyle event Sunday night at the Athens Games.
With the two highest-profile swimmers matched up in lanes next to each other, Thorpe got the best of the 19-year-old American, qualifying for Monday's
final in a time of 1 minute, 46.65 seconds.
Phelps, who would need a win in this event Monday to have a chance at breaking Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven gold medals in one Olympics, was .43
seconds behind Thorpe. Aussie Grant Hackett was third.
The best time in the 200-meter freestyle semifinals went to defending Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands, as he won his
heat in 1:46 flat. American Klete Keller was second in that semifinal, but more than a full second behind.
Thorpe and Phelps are already gold medal winners at these Olympics. Phelps, who captured the gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley in world
record fashion Saturday, while Thorpe won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle.