Michael Phelps slips past Ryan Locht in 200 trials (+videos)
Michael Phelps and Ryan Locht provided a sneak peak of what's sure to be an exciting rivalry at the London Summer Olympics.
Round 2 goes to Michael Phelps.
Getting back at rival Ryan Lochte, Phelps stretched out to win a thrilling 200-meter freestyle at the US Olympic trials Wednesday night, setting up a duel in London that just gets more tantalizing with every race between the world's two greatest swimmers.
Lochte won the 400 individual medley on the opening night of the games, his third straight major victory over the winningest Olympian ever. But Phelps isn't going down that easily.
He got off to a stronger start that usual, leading at the first turn and holding the advantage through all four laps. Both swimmers got a big boost off the final turn, cutting through the water like missiles, and Lochte went stroke for stroke down the stretch. But Phelps stretched out his right arm at the wall, touching just ahead of Lochte. The winning time was 1 minute, 45.70 seconds — five-hundredths of a second ahead of Lochte.
"Obviously it's been a while, so it felt better" to beat Lochte, Phelps said. "But there's still some things I can improve on."
Phelps' victory was even more impressive given his busy night. He didn't even have time to celebrate, hustling back to the warm-down pool to get ready for the semifinals of the 200 butterfly. He came back 40 minutes later to post the third-fastest qualifying time, moving on to Thursday night's final looking to lock up a chance to defend the gold he won at the last two Olympics.
"I feel old," the 26-year-old Phelps quipped. "Just getting in the water to race is what motivates me."
Speaking of busy, Missy Franklin left no doubt that she is swimming's next big star with a stunning performance in the 100 backstroke, signaling a changing of the guard in an event Natalie Coughlin captured at the last two Olympics.