Michael Phelps, trying get his sputtering Olympic campaign in gear, cruised into the semi-finals of the 200m butterfly Monday as team-mate Ryan Lochte prepared for an assault on the 200m free.
Phelps, who rewrote Olympic history four years ago when he became the first athlete to win eight golds in a single Games to take his all-time tally to 14, has yet to strike gold in London.
After barely scraping into the final of the 400m medley, he was shut out of the medals in fourth place.
Phelps delivered an impressive 47.15sec second-leg in the 4x100m freestyle relay on Sunday night, but was denied gold as France seized the victory over America on the final leg.
"I think getting last night out of the way was something that I needed," said the superstar, who added his 400m medley disappointment had nothing to do with confidence but was just a poor swim.
He pronounced himself satisfied with his fifth-fastest time in the 200m butterfly heats, led by Austrian Dinko Jukic ahead of American Tyler Clary and Serbian Velimir Stjepanovic.
"I am pretty happy about this morning, that is all I need to be," said Phelps, who has held the 200m fly world record since 2001 and hasn't been beaten in a major international competition in the event over the same span.
Lochte, who opened the Games with a dominant victory in the 400m medley, is part of a stellar cast in the 200m free final that includes China's 400m free gold medallist Sun Yang, French relay hero Yannick Agnel, South Korean star Park Tae-Hwan and world record-holder Paul Biedermann of Germany.
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