Ryan Lochte had never beaten Michael Phelps in the 400 IM. That is until Monday night.
Lochte edged out the biggest name in swimming finishing a body length ahead of the guy who has 14 Olympic gold medals to his name (including two in the 400 IM) finishing in a time a 4:07.06 just ahead of Michael Phelps’ time of 4:07.89.
The good news for both swimmers, however, is that by virtue of their first and second place finishes, each are now officially on the Olympic swim team. That was nothing more than a foregone conclusion coming into the eight days of Olympic Swim Trials, but nonetheless, it is now official.
Lochte’s time was the fastest in the world this year in the event, but it’s not like he was patting himself on the back afterwards. “That time was not good,” he said. “I feel like I’m capable of going way faster and I know I can. There were definitely a lot of places during that race where I knew I could go faster, I just didn’t. I just had to do what I had to do to get my hand on the wall first.”
For Phelps, his second place finish ensures there will be a rematch in the event when the London Olympics get underway on July 27th. And you can bet he knows one thing, no one is going to remember who finished first at the swim trials.
“This is a baby step,” Phelps said of the loss. “Ryan knows that, just like I do, that the race that counts happens in a couple of weeks.”
That being said, the Olympics are still over a month away and these two have plenty more on their plate before they leave Omaha.
Lochte and Phelps could potentially butt heads five more times in the coming week in the 100 and 200 free style, 200 backstroke, 200 IM and 100 butterfly so there battle is far from over.
Round one, however, goes to Mr. Lochte.