OMAHA, Nebraska: Ryan Lochte came out on top in another semi-final tussle with Michael Phelps Friday at the US Olympic swimming trials as he set himself up for a tilt at a 200m backstroke-medley double.
Lochte settled for bronze in the 200m medley at the Beijing Olympics behind Phelps and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, but has since claimed the world record and beat Phelps at last year’s world championships in China.
He signalled his intentions for the final with a victory over Phelps in the first semi-final in 1min 55.51sec — the fastest time in the world this year.
Phelps was second, and second-fastest overall into the final, in 1:56.66. The clash was part of a busy night for Lochte, who led the way into the final of the 200m backstroke in 1:55.73. “I knew he kind of took off, so I was like I probably should save something for tomorrow,” Phelps said.