Michael Phelps had a shaky start during the London Olympics Saturday.
The American swimmer qualified for the eighth and final spot in the 400 individual medley, set to take place later that evening. As a result, the 14-time Olympic gold medalist will compete in an outside lane.
"A final spot is a final spot," Phelps, 27, told reporters. "The only thing that matters is getting a spot in. You can't win a gold medal from the morning."
Phelps won his 400 individual medley heat in 4 minutes, 13.33 seconds, though it was far less impressive than his performance at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, when he set the 400 individual medley world record in 4 minutes, 3.84 seconds.
American swimmer Ryan Lochte, meanwhile, placed third overall. "My first race is always the worst one," Lochte, 27, told reporters. "I'm glad I got the cobwebs out."
Phelps still has a shot at Olympic gold, according to Lochte. "Even though he just squeaked in eighth, he's a racer. We're going to do everything we can to go 1-2 tonight."
The men's Olympic swimming finals air July 28 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.