OMAHA, Nebraska — Michael Phelps celebrated his 27th birthday by beating his great rival Ryan Lochte in their penultimate showdown before the London Olympics Saturday.
For the third time this week, the pair battled each other stroke-for-stroke at the US Olympic trials in America’s Midwest, this time in the 200 meters individual medley.
Lochte beat Phelps in the 400m individual medley Monday but Phelps avenged that loss when he got his hand on the wall first, stopping the clock at one minute 54.84 seconds.
Lochte, who had won the 200m backstroke final just 30 minutes before taking on the greatest Olympian of all time, was just 0.11 seconds behind, setting the stage for another epic duel in London when both men will be at their peak.
Phelps has already qualified for four events in London and looks certain to add a fifth after setting the fastest time in the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly. With the addition of the three relays, he will swim the same eight events he contested at Athens and Beijing.
Lochte also qualified for the 100m butterfly final after swimming three races in less than hour Saturday. — Reuters