Ryan Lochte took the first round of his hotly-anticipated summer showdown with Michael Phelps, defeating the two-time defending Olympic champion in the 400 IM to open the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha.
The 27-year-old from Florida led from the outset of the grueling race to touch in 4:07.06, nearly a full body length ahead of Phelps. Lochte had two won world championships in the event after Phelps “retired” from the lengthy discipline following his victory in the Beijing Games. Despite Phelps’ pedigree in the race, Lochte was heavily favored to win Monday night, especially after he posted the fastest time in qualifying heats by four seconds.
It was Phelps first loss in a final at the U.S. trials since July 13, 2004, when Ian Crocker defeated him in the 100 butterfly. His defeat did have a silver lining: With his second-place finish, Phelps became the first swimmer in United States history to qualify for four Olympics. The 14-time gold medalist is three medals away from becoming the most prolific winner in the history of the Summer Games. read more […]