Fourteen-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps has dropped the 200 metres freestyle from his programme at London 2012.

The 27-year-old is the defending champion and edged out team-mate Ryan Lochte at the USA trials which ended last night in Omaha, Nebraska.

The four-length event had been one of the three anticipated duels between the two at the Aquatics Centre but they will now meet in the 200m and 400m individual medley with both men set to contest up to seven events.

Phelps' coach Bob Bowman announced on Twitter: "@MichaelPhelps will be removing the individual 200 freestyle from his Olympic program. This will give him a full slate of 7 events ... This change will allow him to focus more energy on relays for Team USA."

Bowman expanded further, reported on "Something has to give.

"It was either going to be the 400IM or the 200m free. The attraction of the long medley was a day one start.

"It's good to get going and not wait until the second day.

"This [dropping the 200m free] helps him out in the middle of the programme, which will help him at the end of it."

The Baltimore swimmer will now contest both the 200m and 400m individual medley and the 100m and 200m butterfly as well as three relay events.

Should he win the 400m individual medley, Phelps will become the first male swimmer to twice successfully defend an Olympic title following his triumphs in 2004 and 2008.