LONDON—Michael Phelps will swim the second leg of tonight's 400-meter freestyle relay, with Ryan Lochte anchoring the always exciting race in which the U.S. faces stiff competition from the Australian team.
Phelps, who traditionally leads off the relay, is coming off Saturday's sluggish 400-meter individual relay, his fourth-place finish leaving him without a medal. His rival Lochte won gold with a powerful swim.
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The team, kept secret until shortly before the evening races were to begin, feature two members, Phelps and Jones, who swam the thrilling 400 relay in the 2008 Games in which anchor Jason Lezak pulled past a French team that had been ahead. Lezak, 36, swam in the morning preliminary but was not selected for the final.
Lochte is more of a 200-meter swimmer, but given that his coach, and the U.S. men's swim coach, had said that he would go with the "hot hand" in selecting swimmers, it's not surprising that he is part of the team. He also has a semi-final tonight, in the 200-meter freestyle.