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London Olympics 2012: Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte Earn Spots In 400 IM Final

USA swimming stars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte locked up spots in the 400 Individual Medley final on Saturday morning. Both swimmers expended just enough energy in their respective preliminary heats to move on, although Phelps cut it really close.

Phelps will have to make waves from out in lane eight in the final after posting the slowest prelim time among the finalist of 4:13.33 and just nipping Laszlo Cseh of Hungary by .07 seconds. The slow pace qualified Phelps for the 400 IM final on Saturday evening but cost Cseh, the silver medalist in the event in 2008, a shot at another Olympic medal.

Phelps' U.S. rival Ryah Lochte saved a little energy for later as well, but still posted the third best time at 4:12.35, finishing second to South African Chae le Clos in his heat. Lochte will race the final from lane three and will line up next to Japan's 17-year-old Kosuke Hagino in lane four after the young swimmer surprisingly posted the top time in his prelim heat at 4:10.01.

The 400 IM is at 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday and will be shown on NBC's Olympic coverage on tape delay during the 8:00 p.m. to Midnight ET broadcast.

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Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.