Phelps and rival Lochte set for 200m medley showdown

Fri Jul 1, 2016 2:40am EDT
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By Steve Keating

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte cruised to victory in their respective 200 meters medley semi-finals at the U.S. Olympic trials on Thursday to set up one last mouth-watering showdown between the rivals on home soil.

Phelps, who secured a trip to his fifth Olympics with a victory in the 200 butterfly on Wednesday, capped off his 31st birthday in imperious style by gliding to wall in one minute, 57.61 seconds, the third fastest time in the event this season.

But Lochte, who has been competing against Phelps in this event since 2003, followed his rival into the pool and threw down the gauntlet by clocking the year's second best time of 1:56.71.

"He's a tough competitor and I just love racing against him," said Lochte. "Every time I can get up on those blocks to race him is definitely an honor.

"Tomorrow will be a good battle between me and Michael.

"It is one of the greatest rivalries in sports from what we have both done as far as swimming."

Certainly few can match what Phelps and Lochte have accomplished in the pool.

Phelps, winner of a record 22 Olympic medals, has made the gold medal in the 200 IM his personal property taking top spot on the podium at the last three Summer Games.   Continued...

Jun 30, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Michael Phelps swims during the Men's 200 Meter Individual Medley semi-finals in the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports