Phelps happy to let 'little brother' take down old foe

Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:10am EDT
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By Steve Keating

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Michael Phelps had no appetite for a rematch with Ryan Lochte in the 400 meters medley so left it to the swimmer he calls his little brother to beat up on an old foe at the U.S. Olympic swim trials on Sunday.

Displaying the same ruthless competitive streak as his training partner Phelps, Chase Kalisz showed no mercy as he delivered an emphatic knockout punch to the wounded Lochte, pulling away from the 2012 London Summer Games gold medalist over the final two legs to become the first American swimmer to collect his ticket to Rio.

For more than a decade, Phelps and Lochte have engaged in some epic battles in the pool, the showdowns forging one of swimming's great rivalries.

Phelps won the 400 IM title at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Olympics while Lochte grabbed top spot on the podium in London.

But now aged 30 and bidding for a spot on his fifth Olympic team, Phelps wanted no part of the punishing 400 IM, instead passing the torch to Kalisz, who will carry it to Rio in August and an expected showdown with the Japanese double medal threat of Kosuke Hagino and Daiya Seto.

"I was so happy for Chase, I was crying when I was hugging him," said Phelps, who now trains in Arizona with Kalisz under coach Bob Bowman. "We kept the 400 IM in the MBAC (Maryland Baltimore Aquatic Club) family, it's in a safe place.

"He is like my brother and watching him to be able to do that is a very special moment.

"There was actually a time when he asked Bob if he could back off a little bit but I just see potential and I want him to be the best he can be."   Continued...

Jun 26, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Ryan Lochte (left) and Chase Kalisz (right) dive into the pool at the start of the men's 400m individual medley finals in the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports