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Michael Phelps starts his push for London at US Olympic swim trials

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps continues his competition with US teammate Ryan Lochte Tuesday at the US Olympic swimming trials in Omaha.

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Phelps didn't win, but he made a little history of his own, becoming the first American male swimmer to qualify for a fourth Olympics.

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"We knew that (losing) was a distinct possibility in this event," his coach, Bob Bowman, said. "I don't think we had any illusions. He knows that he's in the range. He knows he can get better."

Peter Vanderkaay made his third Olympic team by winning the 400 freestyle in 3:47.47. He was joined by training partner Conor Dwyer, who finished second.

Elizabeth Beisel became the first woman to qualify for the U.S. team with an easy victory in the 400 IM. She won in 4:31.74 to earn a berth in her second consecutive games. Caitlin Leverenz grabbed the second spot.

Some big names will hit the pool for the first time in Tuesday's preliminary heats. Missy Franklin, the 17-year-old Colorado swimmer tabbed for stardom in London, competes in the 100 backstroke; Amanda Beard opens her quest to make a fifth Olympic team in the 100 breaststroke; and Janet Evans, making a comeback at 40, goes in the 400 freestyle, although her stronger event is the 800 free.

Beard faces a loaded field in the 100 breast that includes world champion Rebecca Soni, former world record holder Jessica Hardy, and 2000 Olympic champion Megan Jendrick, who gave birth to her first child eight months ago.

On Tuesday night, Brendan Hansen goes for a spot on his third Olympic team in the 100 breaststroke. He flirted with the American record in Monday's semifinals, coming up short with a time of 59.71 seconds — fourth-fastest in the world this year. The 30-year-old former world champion quit after Beijing but returned to the pool looking to make up for disappointments in the last two Olympics.

"I went out there and hit the first five strokes and I was like, 'I'm gone, later,' and just took off," Hansen said. "You have no idea how hard it is to break a minute."

Eric Shanteau, who competed in Beijing after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, also advanced.

Dana Vollmer, a 2004 Olympian who failed to qualify for the team four years ago, set an American record in the semifinals of the 100 butterfly. The defending world champion put up the world's fastest time this year of 56.42. Natalie Coughlin, an 11-time Olympic medalist, also made the eight-woman final.

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