Ryan Lochte heads U.S. Deul roster

ATLANTA -- Michael Phelps is sitting out Duel in the Pool because it doesn't fit into his training schedule, but the United States will still have a team with plenty of star power.

Olympic gold medalists Ryan Lochte, Natalie Coughlin, Amanda Beard, Brendan Hansen, Rebecca Soni and Dana Vollmer were named Thursday to the 36-member squad by USA Swimming.

The Americans will face a European all-star team in the Dec. 16-17 meet at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, where swimming was held during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Phelps, who has won a record 14 Olympic gold medals, won't participate in Atlanta because it doesn't fit his schedule for the London Games. He competed in meets at Moscow and Berlin last month, then headed to Colorado for altitude training. He's scheduled to complete at a Grand Prix meet in Minneapolis next week.

After that, Phelps is headed home, meaning he will also skip the winter nationals scheduled for Georgia Tech in early December.

"Having been on the road for four weeks ... the next step in our plan for London is to stay local to Baltimore for training and one local meet until January," coach Bob Bowman said in a text to The Associated Press. "We still have a very strong team."

While Phelps is still trying to recapture the form that carried him to eight gold medals in Beijing, Lochte has become the world's dominant swimmer. At the world championships in Shanghai, he captured five gold medals and a bronze -- beating out Phelps in their two head-to-head meetings.

The U.S. also will have Olympians Peter Vanderkaay and Eric Shanteau, as well as rising stars Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Beisel, both of whom claimed world titles in Shanghai.

The fastest swimmers from four meets -- world championships, national championships, World University Games and Pan American Games -- were named to the American team. Additional spots were filled by the coaches.

The men will be coached by David Marsh, who runs the SwimMAC program in Charlotte, N.C. Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle is leading the women's squad.

The European all-star team has already gotten commitments from world championship swimmers in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Poland, Belarus, Denmark, Austria and Lithuania.


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