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Happy 27th birthday, Michael Phelps

OMAHA — It was Michael Phelps’ 27th birthday Saturday, and then he went out and gave himself a big present, a victory in the 200-meter individual medley over Ryan Lochte in as thrilling and big-time a swim race as you could ever want to see.

With fans waving red, white and blue signs wishing Michael a happy birthday, Phelps led wire-to-wire in winning in 1:54.84. Lochte touched just nine-hundredths of a second behind, 1:54.93.

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Swimming: culture matters

OMAHA — Matt Grevers had just come off a dominating win in the 100 backstroke here at the U.S. swim Trials. It was late at night. He was walking across the bridge that connects CenturyLink Arena to the Hilton Omaha and he was walking slowly, very slowly, because about every 10 feet a gaggle of girls was asking for autographs and photos.

He was signing and posing and he could not have been more gracious, even when the girls gave way to a grown man who asked if he would pose for a photo with a picture glued to a popsicle-stick of his hometown orthodontist, apparently a swim dad. Whatever.

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Janet Evans: no compromise, no limits, all courage

OMAHA — Janet Evans came out of the water after swimming her preliminary heat in the 400 meters and said, with a big smile, albeit perhaps a little ruefully, “Janet just got 80th with a 4:21!”

This was after the sixth heat of 12. Janet, who had just finished seventh in her bunch of nine, had no idea what place she would ultimately finish. All she knew at that instant was that she was for sure not going to make the U.S. Olympic Team in the 400 and yet the crowd was cheering for her like crazy.