The next time Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte stand on the block for the same race, it'll be in the Olympic trials. London's two presumptive swimming stars will need to do a little better.
Phelps defeated Lochte in the 200 freestyle, a race Lochte won by .35 seconds at last year's world championships, but both were defeated by American Ricky Berens at Friday night's Charlotte Grand Prix.
Watch the race, courtesy USASwimming.org. Phelps is at the top of the screen in lane 2, Lochte is beneath him in lane 3 and Berens is in lane 4.
Berens touched the wall in 1:47.32, almost three seconds slower than Lochte's worlds-winning time from last summer. Phelps finished second, while Lochte was sixth.
None of the three swimmers are reading too much into the result.
'None of this is going to matter,'' Lochte's coach, Gregg Troy, told the Associated Press. ''No one is going to care what happened in Charlotte in another month and a half or two months. So, we're pretty comfortable.''
Berens realizes this too. ''I have one of the hardest events in the country,'' he admitted. ''I've got Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, who are the two fastest guys in the world and the toughest competition. [...] As long as I'm part of that relay and winning gold for the U.S., I'm happy.''
Olympic trials begin on June 25.
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- Ryan Lochte
- Michael Phelps