Lochte beats Phelps in Round 1, but there's more to come

Posted Monday, Jun. 25, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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OMAHA, Neb. -- Ryan Lochte didn't celebrate, and Michael Phelps didn't pout.

Lochte beat Phelps in their first head-to-head showdown at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, but both know there is a long way to go.

"Whenever I go on the blocks, no matter what or who it is, I always feel I can win," Lochte said. "I knew I was capable of doing it, and it happened. But that race is over. I'm not even thinking about that race anymore. I've got so many more races left in this meet."

The trials opened with fireworks, literally and figuratively, as Lochte beat Phelps in the 400 individual medley. It is the first of what could be six meetings between the two, with both also entered in the 100 freestyle, 200 free, 200 back, 200 IM and 100 butterfly.

Lochte is entered in 11 events and could swim as many as seven here. Phelps could get a chance to defend his eight Olympic gold medals from Beijing after qualifying in the 400 IM, a grueling event he had said he would drop after the 2008 Games.

"There was a lot of discussion about me doing it, and [coach] Bob [Bowman] and I tried a lot of different things and played around with a lot of different ideas," Phelps said. "It came down to: I wanted to do that. Having a year and a half off from it, it was good, but this is an event that I've done for a long time. It's something I want to finish my career off with it.

"...Coming off this, I'm very pleased. I'm happy to get that first monkey off your back ...and kind of get the first race jitters out."

Lochte beat Phelps in their two head-to-head meetings at the world championships last year, winning gold in the 200 free and 200 IM. He served notice again Monday that he is as good as Phelps, maybe better in some events, though London will decide that.

"It really doesn't say much," Lochte said of his victory Monday. "It's a rivalry that we've had for almost eight years now, and we've just been switching back and forth. It's hard to say who's the best swimmer, because we're both great racers."

Lochte swam the fastest time in the world this year in the 400 IM, with a 4:07.06. Phelps was second in 4:07.89. Yet, Lochte wasn't pleased with his time.

"When we look at the splits, there are a couple of spots where we felt like maybe we had another couple of seconds to play with," said Gregg Troy, Lochte's coach and the Team USA men's coach. "So much of it isn't what I think; it's how the race plays out and how he feels on that day. So we've just got to go back to work a little bit. We've got seven big races coming up, so we're trying to save a little energy."


Former Southlake Carroll standout Claire Singley was 94th out of 125 finishers in the 400 IM with a 4:59.88. Still, it was a dream come true for the 20-year-old Penn State swimmer. "I swam at a meet in Mansfield two weeks ago, and I ended up making the cut," Singley said. "You can't imagine what it's like until you're here -- everything I've pretty much wanted and more."

Carroll's Jonathan Roberts finished 83rd out of 109 in the 400 IM, with a 4:33.05 in the prelims.

Cammile Adams had hoped to become the first Texas A&M swimmer to make the U.S. swim team in an individual event. But she finished third in the 400 IM with a 4:38.62. World champion Elizabeth Beisel won (4:31.74), with Caitlin Leverenz (4:34.48) claiming the other spot. "I was definitely happy for sure," said Adams, who has the 400 free and 200 fly to go. "It was a great race. First [trials] finals ever, so I was just kind of soaking it all up and getting ready for the rest of the week."

Former UT swimmer Brendan Hansen won his heat in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.30) and then, in the semifinals, posted the fourth-fastest time in the world (59.71) this year. "I've been feeling great in the water, and I'm just going to get faster with each swim," Hansen said.

Charean Williams


Twitter: @NFLCharean

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