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First night of Olympic swimming promises exciting Phelps Lochte race

The two Americans will go head-to-head Saturday in the 400-meter individual medley, a grueling race encompassing all four strokes.

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US swimmer Ryan Lochte gestures during a press conference held at the media center of the 2012 Summer Olympics, on July 26, in London.

Ng Han Guan/AP

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The retiring star with more gold medals than anyone. The friendly rival who intends to be the biggest star in London.

Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte.

What a way to start eight days of swimming at the Olympic pool!

The two Americans will go head-to-head Saturday in the 400-meter individual medley, a grueling race encompassing all four strokes, an appropriate way for one or the other to fire the first salvo in this most intriguing of rivalries.

For Phelps, it's a chance to add to his record total of 14 gold medals and become the first male swimmer to win the same event at three straight Olympics. But Lochte is the defending world champion and defeated Phelps at the US trials last month.

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