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London Olympics 2012: Michael Phelps Slips Into 400 IM Final, Ryan Lochte 3rd Fastest

USA swimming star Michael Phelps cruised through his morning preliminary race in the 400 IM and nearly didn't make the final field.

Phelps barely won his prelim race, just out-touching Laszlo Cseh of Hungary by .07 seconds to finish with a time of 4:13.33. The pace was slow enough to give Phelps the eighth and final spot in the 400 IM final scheduled for Saturday evening while leaving out Cseh, the silver medalist in the event in the 2008 games in Beijing.

The strong field racing for the gold also includes Phelps' rival on the U.S. team, Ryah Lochte who will be in lane three after posting the third best time at 4:12.35 and finishing second in his prelim race to South African Chad le Clos. With Phelps out in lane eight, Lochte will line up next to Japan's 17-year-old Kosuke Hagino in lane four. Hagino posted the top time in his prelim heat at 4:10.01 to lock up the top spot in the middle of the pool for the final.

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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