Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 8/27/14

Like so many other elite American men’s swimmers, Ricky Berens found himself stuck behind Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.

Berens, who won a gold medal in the 4 x 200 freestyle relay in Beijing and who actually upset Lochte and Phelps earlier this year in Charlotte, had the misfortune of his best event—the 200 freestyle—also being part of Lochte and Phelps’s Olympic program.

In last week’s 200 freestyle final at the U.S. Olympic team trials in Omaha, Berens finished third behind (who else?) Phelps and Lochte. The third-place finish qualified Berens for another 4 x 200 relay team, but only two American swimmers qualify in each individual event.

Monday Michael Phelps decided to drop the 200 freestyle from his program in London. No one was surprised that Phelps dropped an event, but most who follow the sport expected Phelps to scratch in the 400 individual medley.

Late Monday morning Phelps’s coach, Bob Bowman, announced the decision on Twitter:

@MichaelPhelps will be removing the individual 200 freestyle from his Olympic program. This will give him a full slate of 7 events.

— Bob Bowman (@coach_bowman) July 2, 2012

He explained:

This change will allow him to focus more energy on relays for Team USA.I will be in the mixed zone at 11:45 to answer any media questions.

— Bob Bowman (@coach_bowman) July 2, 2012

By opting out of the 200 free, Phelps opened up a spot for Berens, who found out he’d be swimming the 200 free in London when the rest of us did:

WAIT WHAT!!!! RT @coach_bowman: @MichaelPhelps will be removing the individual 200 freestyle from his Olympic program.

— Ricky Berens (@RickyBerens) July 2, 2012

I don’t believe this yet! RT @mikelgustafson: With Phelps out of the individual 200 FR… Ricky Berens, you’re movin’ on up!

— Mike Gustafson (@mikelgustafson) July 2, 2012

@mikelgustafson seriously…. What happened to a phone call.

— Ricky Berens (@RickyBerens) July 2, 2012

Words can’t describe how I am feeling right now. If Twitter is right, I am swimming the 200 free at the Olympics!!!!! This is nuts!!!

— Ricky Berens (@RickyBerens) July 2, 2012

Happy Monday!! RT @RickyBerens: Words can’t describe how I am feeling right now. If Twitter is (cont) tl.gd/i4oogs

— Bob Bowman (@coach_bowman) July 2, 2012

Fun fact: Berens’s girlfriend is teammate Rebecca Soni, who qualified in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. You’ll want to keep an eye on both of them later this month at the Olympics.

Ricky Berens learned that his Olympic dream had come true and celebrated with his best Andrew Luck grin. (Photo by Mark Humphrey, AP)


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