Phelps missed his chance to win gold in the same event at three consecutive Olympic Games.

By Kevin O'Donnell
Updated July 28, 2012 02:00 PM
Diego Azubel/EPA/Landov

Michael Phelps just barely qualified for the 400 individual medley at the London Olympic Games Saturday morning.

The Olympic swimmer, 27, scored the eighth and final place for the event. He won his heat in 4 minutes, 13:33 seconds and narrowly eked out a spot in the final from Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, who clocked in at 4:13:40 just seven-hundreths of a second behind. (Ryan Lochte, the other favored U.S. Olympic swimmer, placed second in his heat.)

As a result, Phelps would be swimming in Lane 8, which is typically a difficult lane to swim in due to waves rolling off the pool wall. So how did he fare?

After his nail-biting qualification, Phelps failed to earn a medal in the 400 individual medley. The swimmer placed fourth, with a time of 4:09:28.

Phelps’s U.S. teammate Ryan Lochte, meanwhile, emerged triumphant: he earned the gold medal with a time of 4:05:18. (The event was streamed live from London on and will be broadcast on the network tonight.)

“Congrats to @ryanlochte … Way to keep that title in the country where it belongs!!” Phelps Tweeted.

Phelps shouldn’t be too disconcerted – he still holds the Olympic and world records for the event, which he set at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But he has missed his chance to become the first male swimmer to nab a gold medal in the same event at three consecutive Olympic games.

The battle between Lochte and Phelps isn’t over yet: the two will face off again in the 200 IM on Wednesday.

Added Phelps on Twitter: Not pleased with my race tonight at all… But tom is a new day! And a new race!!