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"He's somebody definitely good to have on the team," said Phelps, remembering how Lezak bailed out his bid for eight gold medals with a brilliant anchor leg in 2008. "We are going to have to do a lot of work for that relay. This is some kind of start. Having the experience that Jason has, hopefully he can help some of the younger guys get up."
Coughlin hung on in her bid to make it back to a third Olympics and take a shot at tying Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres as the most decorated female Olympians in U.S. history.
Coughlin won six medals in Beijing and she has 11 overall, one shy of Thompson and Torres. But there may not be a chance to tie them in London.
Having already missed out in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, Coughlin is down to her final realistic chance in the 100 freestyle. She barely got out of the semifinals, finishing sixth in her heat but seventh overall to qualify for Saturday night's final. Amanda Weir was the fastest qualifier in 54.14, followed by Missy Franklin (54.19) and Allison Schmitt (54.23).
With a loaded final that also included Dana Vollmer and Jessica Hardy, Coughlin looks like a longshot for an individual berth in London. She'll need to finish in the top six of the eight-woman final to earn consideration for the 400 free relay team.
"Life will go on," Coughlin said. "That's why you don't see me freaking out."
On a busy night. Lochte cruised through the semis of the 200 backstroke with the fastest time at 1:55.73. Tyler Clary was next (1:55.88) in what looks like a two-man race. Only one other qualifier for the final was within 3 seconds of the leaders.
Lochte returned less than an hour later for the semifinals of the 200 individual medley, which was Phelps' only event of the night. Racing side-by-side again, Lochte was top qualifier again with the fastest time in the world this year (1:55.51), while Phelps was about a body length behind (1:56.66).
"I knew he kind of took off, so I was like I probably should save something for tomorrow," Phelps said. "I kind of shut it down once the race was kind of over."
They will be right next to each other again Saturday night in the finals, their final showdown on the trials. They've each won a head-to-head meeting, a tantalizing glimpse of what awaits at the meet that really matters in London.
"Those were pretty solid swims," said Lochte, who will have only about a 20-minute break between races in the finals. "I'm up for that challenge. It's something I've been doing for four years now: challenging myself. I'm definitely ready."
In the night's other final, Cammile Adams pulled away to win the 200 butterfly in 2:06.52. Kathleen Hersey claimed the second Olympic berth (2:07.72), more than a second ahead of third-place finisher Kim Vandenberg.
Teresa Crippen, sister of the late Fran Crippen, was fourth. She had hoped to make the Olympics to help carry on the dream of her brother, who died in an open-water race in 2010.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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