Michael Phelps is turning his final Olympics into quite a victory lap, and don’t fret about American swimming after he’s gone.

Led by a pair of high schoolers, the post-Phelps era will be in very good hands.

In what amounted to a symbolic changing of the guard yesterday, Phelps claimed the 17th gold medal of a career that has just 24 hours to go — on the same night one teenager, Missy Franklin, broke a world record in the backstroke and another, Katie Ledecky, took down a hallowed American mark that was set nearly eight years before she was born.

“This has sort of turned into the youth Olympics,” Franklin said. “There’s so many members of the team that are coming up this year that are going to carry on this incredible generation.”

Incredible, indeed.

His long arms whirling through the water, Phelps was seventh at the turn in 100-meter butterfly — it always takes him a while to get up to speed — but he brought it home like a champion. That, in a sense, sums up his Olympics farewell. He got off to a sluggish start but has three victories in the past four days, and it’s almost certain he’ll take home one more gold today.

That’s a relay.

This was the final race he’ll do alone.

“I’m just happy that the last one was a win,” said Phelps, who will likely fade into retirement with twice as many golds as anyone else. “That’s all I really wanted coming into the night.”

United States 88,

Czech Republic 61

LONDON (AP) — Diana Taurasi scored 18 points and Tina Charles finished with a double-double to lead the U.S. women’s basketball team to an 88-61 win over the Czech Republic.

The Americans have now won 37 straight games in the Olympics, including four straight gold medals.

Charles finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds for the U.S., which was coming off its first day off since getting together on July 14.

Liz Cambage dunked in Australia’s 70-66 victory over Russia, and Croatia, Canada, Turkey and France also claimed victories.

United States 2,

New Zealand 0

LONDON (AP) — Abby Wambach slid into a pass in the 27th minute to knock home her fourth goal of the tournament and then celebrated with a cartwheel in the United States’ 2-0 win over New Zealand in the women’s soccer quarterfinals.

Sydney Leroux added an insurance goal in the 87th minute for the two-time defending Olympic champion Americans, who will play Canada on Monday. Canada advanced with a 2-0 victory over host Britain.

France faces Japan in the other semifinal. Yuki Ogimi scored and set up another goal to give world champion Japan a 2-0 victory over Brazil, and France reached the next round by edging Sweden 2-1 on goals by defenders Laura Georges and Wendie Renard.

Defending champs

eliminated by Italy

LONDON (AP) — Defending gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the United States were knocked out of the Olympics by Italy.

Rogers and Dalhausser lost the first set 21-17 and fell behind Paolo Nicolai and Danielle Lupo 12-7 in the second. The Americans tied it 19-19 but lost the final two points and were eliminated when Rogers’ spike was blocked back into him by the 6-foot-8-inch Nicolai.

Jennifer Kessy and April Ross of the U.S. beat Switzerland’s Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr to advance to the quarterfinals of the women’s tournament. Brazil’s top-seeded Juliana and Larissa also advanced.

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