Kalisz claims first Rio ticket as Lochte fades

Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:53pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Newcomer Chase Kalisz outduelled Olympic champion Ryan Lochte in the men's 400 meters individual medley final at the U.S. Olympic swim trials on Sunday, clinching the first ticket to the Rio Games.

The stage was set for the opening showdown of the trials in the morning heats when Kalisz narrowly pipped Lochte at the wall but the 22-year-old left no doubt in the final as he pulled away from the 2012 London gold medalist over the final two legs clocking four minutes, 9.54 seconds.

"I'm glad to get this one out of the way, this one for me was a lot more stressful than I could imagine Rio could be," Kalisz, who is headed to his first Olympics, said after becoming the second fastest in the world this year.

"This is the one thing I wanted to accomplish, anything after that is going to be a bonus.

"I've got a lot more in the tank going forward to Rio."

Lochte led by nearly two lengths after the butterfly and backstroke.

But he faded badly in the back half to finish third as 20-year-old Jay Litherland powered past the five-time Olympic champion in the freestyle final leg to also likely grab a Rio berth.

The winner in each event automatically qualifies for Rio in August, with second place finishers also usually earning tickets.   Continued...

Jun 26, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Ryan Lochte in the men's 400m individual medley finals in the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports