IRVINE, Calif. (AP) – Michael Phelps defeated training partner Klete Keller by nearly a half-second to win the 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. Summer Nationals on Friday night.

It was Phelps’ 27th national title, moving him into a tie for seventh on the career list with Katherine Rawls, who competed from 1931-38. He has a chance to win two more individual races by the meet’s conclusion Sunday.

Phelps led wire-to-wire and touched first in 1 minute, 46.40 seconds – well off his American record of 1:45.20 set at last week’s world championships in Montreal.

He climbed out of the pool, bent over, then leaned heavily on a drink cooler while trying to catch his breath before walking slowly off the deck.

Keller, who trains with Phelps at the University of Michigan, was second in 1:46.87. Jayme Cramer, who joined Phelps and Keller on the world championships team, was third in 1:48.19.

Phelps easily won the 200 butterfly Thursday with the second-fastest time in the world this year.

Brittany Reimer of Canada edged Caroline Burckle of Louisville, Ky., to win the women’s 200 free in 1:59.73. Reimer earned silver and bronze medals at the world championships.

Burckle, who won a gold medal swimming the 800 freestyle preliminaries in Montreal, took a narrow lead into the wall, but got out-touched and took second in 1:59.74.

With world champion Katie Hoff and American record holder Kaitlin Sandeno skipping the event, Ariana Kukors defended her title in the 400 individual medley.

Kukors, a 16-year-old from Auburn, Wash., was timed in 4:43.32 for her second career national championship. She dropped nearly 3 seconds from her morning preliminary time.

Robert Margalis of St. Petersburg, Fla., won the men’s 400 IM in 4:18.66. He finished seventh in the same event at the world championships.

Phelps, the world record holder, bypassed the event.

AP-ES-08-05-05 2308EDT

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