Longtime Rivals Phelps, Lochte Set for Showdown at Olympic Trials

Phelps and Lochte are headed to a showdown in the 200-meter individual medley at the US Olympic swimming trials.

2 min read
Michael Phelps (Photo: AP)

Longtime rivals Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are headed for another showdown at the US Olympic swimming trials.

Phelps and Lochte cruised through the semifinals of the 200-meter individual medley Thursday night, each of them winning their heats in dominating fashion.

It means a lot. I’ve been racing him in this event since like 2003. He’s a tough competitor. I just love racing against him because it’s a challenge.
Ryan Lochte

The 200-meter event is especially significant for Lochte, an 11-time Olympic medalist who is yet to qualify for an individual event in Rio.

11-time Olympic medalist, Ryan Lochte. (Photo: AP)
11-time Olympic medalist, Ryan Lochte. (Photo: AP)

Although entered in the 100 meter butterfly, Lochte is basically putting all his hopes on the 200 meter individual medley. A top-two finish will give him the cherished spot, but he really wants a win over Phelps in Friday night’s final before they head to the Olympics.

I’m feeling better as far as I’d like mentally, but physically I’m getting tired. Tomorrow night will definitely be a good battle between me and Michael.
Ryan Lochte

Lochte was the top qualifier at 1 minute, 56.71 seconds, while Phelps took the second spot in 1 minute, 57.61 seconds. That means they’ll be right beside each other in the final, just as they’ve been so many times during their dazzling careers.

Rio will mark Phelps’ fifth consecutive Olympics. (Photo: AP)
Rio will mark Phelps’ fifth consecutive Olympics. (Photo: AP)

Phelps has already qualified for Rio in the 200 fly, but the most decorated athlete in Olympic history is eager to add two more individual races to his program. He’ll be a big favorite in the 100 fly, a race in which Lochte doesn’t figure to be a major threat.

This is their only real chance to race.

Him and I have gone back and forth a number of times in this race. We’re right there with each other tomorrow in the middle of the pool, probably a couple of tenths apart. We’re going to be out and probably step on the gas a little bit more than we have in the past and you’ll have an exciting race.

Phelps is set to be much busier than Lochte. He’s shooting to swim three individual races, and will likely be a part of all three relays.

(With inputs from AP.)

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