Phelps, Lochte add thrilling chapter to their rivalry

Fri Jul 1, 2016 10:04pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Michael Phelps edged old foe Ryan Lochte in a pulsating 200 meters individual medley showdown at the U.S. Olympic trials on Friday, adding another thrilling chapter to the greatest rivalry in swimming.

The race marked the last time Phelps and Lochte will go head-to-head in an American pool but the two swimming giants, who between them have amassed 33 Olympic medals, could clash one final time on the grandest stage of all, at the Rio Olympics in August.

Phelps, who had already qualified for a fifth U.S. Olympic team, held off his hard charging rival to narrowly get to the wall first in one minute, 55.91 seconds, the second fastest swim in the event this year.

But on this night the time did not matter as much as the result, the two swimmers who have pushed each to greatness looking up at the clock at the end, before turning their glances to each other and shaking hands.

"Ryan and I always have great races with one another," said Phelps.

"Him and I have been racing since 2004 and think when we race each other we bring each other to a different level. We take each other to that next step.

"It's probably the last time people in the U.S. will see that, the two of us race each other. We've had a great history in the 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 free, kind of every race."

While there were eight lanes occupied by swimmers all looking to punch their Rio Games tickets, for the soldout crowd at CenturyLink Center this was a match race of the highest order, a duel in the pool between two 31-year-olds who lined up beside each other.   Continued...

Jul 1, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Michael Phelps (right) and Ryan Lochte react during the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports