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Girls, girls, girls

July 1, 2008 |  2:44 pm

Michael Phelps celebrates with buddy Ryan Lochte after winning the 400-meter individual medley Sunday night. OMAHA -- This Michael Phelps-Ryan Lochte friendship appeared to be taking an interesting turn.

Phelps turned 23 on Monday and was asked whether Lochte gave him a pair of girls to celebrate the occasion.

Phelps: "No girls, no girls."

This exchange showed up on the flash quotes handed out in the media room after the second heat of the 200-meter freestyle. One problem. The "pair of girls" Lochte was going to give him were actually "a pair of grillz."

Grillz, as in the mouth jewelry of the rapper variety. Not of the female variety.

But you might say Lochte gave Phelps an even better birthday present, pulling out of their highly anticipated 200 freestyle final, which was Tuesday night, to concentrate on the 100 backstroke final, also on Tuesday night.

So it won't be Phelps vs. Lochte, Part II, but Lochte vs. world-record holder Aaron Peirsol and Randal Bal in the 100 back.

No word on whether the girllz will surface.

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Michael Phelps, right, celebrates with Ryan Lochte after winning the men's 400-meter individual medley finals on Sunday.  Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associted Press