Lochte reinvigorated by return of Phelps

Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:10pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

PHOENIX (Reuters) - No-one was more excited to see Michael Phelps back in the pool than his greatest rival Ryan Lochte.

On dry land, the pair are good friends and have been on the same teams at Olympics and world championships, but in the water, they are the fiercest of competitors.

It's a friendly rivalry that has benefitted both men, forcing them to push themselves to new limits in a bid to outdo each other.

Like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer or Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, they share a deep and mutual respect but neither likes to lose.

"Racing against Michael is probably the hardest thing to do and I love it," Lochte said.

"l've been racing against him since 2004 and I know that every time I go on those blocks and he's right next to me, it's going to be one of the hardest races.

"I know he's going to push me to the limit and my body to places it doesn't want to go, and I love that."

Like everyone else, Lochte was in awe of what Phelps did in Beijing when he won an unprecedented eight gold medals but rather than concede defeat, he used it to motivate himself.   Continued...

Apr 24, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Ryan Lochte swims during the men's 100m freestyle event at Skyline Aquatic Center. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports