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Phelps on trail of unprecedented Olympic treble

MICHAEL PHELPS is chasing more Olympic history in his next two events at the London Games. Winning medals in the 200 metre butterfly and a relay would let him do it in the same night.

Phelps goes into tonight's butterfly final with the fourth-fastest time in his signature race. He'll try for the second time to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event in three straight Olympics.

He failed in the 400 individual medley, and Japan's Kosuke Kitajima came up short of the same feat in the 100 breaststroke.

Phelps already has the most gold medals - 14 - and eclipsed Mark Spitz's record with eight wins in Beijing four years ago. He could tie Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's record of 18 career medals in the 200 fly, and he would own the mark outright if the US reaches the podium in the 4x200 free relay.

So far in his farewell Olympics, Phelps earned his first career silver medal in the 4x100 free relay after finishing fourth in his first event, the 400 individual medley. The 4x200 relay will give Ryan Lochte a chance to get back on track after two disappointments. He got passed swimming the anchor leg of the 4x100 free relay and then finished fourth in the 200 free on Monday.

"I did my best," Lochte said. "I guess sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. There's probably some things I messed up on, but you live and learn."

The 200 free was won by Yannick Agnel, of France, in a follow-up to his winning anchor leg that beat Lochte a night earlier. He led all the way in beating a loaded field, although Phelps wasn't in it after he decided to skip defending his Olympic title.

The US dominated the backstroke vents, with teenager Missy Franklin winning the women's 100 and teammates Matt Grevers and Nick Thoman going 1-2 in the men's race.

Franklin won relay bronze and a first individual gold, with five events to swim, but she wasn't the only teen queen.

Fifteen-year-old Ruta Meilutyte won the 100 breaststroke to give Lithuania its first swimming gold medal. She won in 1:05.47, holding off 2008 silver medalist Rebecca Soni of the US.