Lochte figures it’s his time to rule pool

While Michael Phelps’ farewell tour will garner a number of headlines from the Charlotte UltraSwim meet, it could be that his primary American competitor steals the show.

Since the 2008 Olympics, Ryan Lochte has beaten Phelps in some key international events. And Lochte believes that the 2012 Olympics will be his time to shine.

“I definitely feel like that,” Lochte said Thursday. “All that hard work, the hours in the pool, I feel like it’s about to pay off. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see this summer.”

In the meantime, he plans to wear himself out at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. While Phelps will only swim two events – one Friday and one Saturday before departing for an Olympic media event in Dallas on Sunday – Lochte has entered a staggering nine events.

“I might be swimming in all of them,” Lochte said. If not, he said, he will at least swim in six events – two each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Lochte’s results will be watched closely, because a lot of American hopes ride on him (as well as Phelps) for the London Olympics. Both will be expected to win multiple gold medals.

Said David Marsh, the Charlotte swim coach who doesn’t coach either swimmer: “At this moment, Lochte has taken over as far as being ‘The Guy’ as far as having a range of events and the (higher) expectations.”

The two will likely compete head-to-head only once in Charlotte – Friday night in the 200-meter freestyle final.

That event will be one of Friday’s highlights, as homegrown Charlotteans Ricky Berens (seeded fifth) and Scot Robison (seeded ninth) will compete as well.

Another interesting swimmer to watch this weekend will be Kara Lynn Joyce, a talented freestyler who only joined SwimMAC Carolina’s Team Elite a month ago.

Joyce has four silver medals – all in relays – from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics but has been trying to regain her form after some spotty results that caused her to move to Charlotte to work under Marsh.

Said Marsh: “The first week Kara Lynn got here I was like, ‘Oh, no. This does not look good. She’s way, way dull.’ But she has gotten sharpened up, she’s made a commitment to the details and she needs a good meet.”

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/10/3232962/lochte-figures-2012-is-his-time.html#storylink=cpy