Ryan Lochte won Round 1 of his Olympic trial battle with Michael Phelps on Monday night. He took Round 1.5 on Tuesday night, too.
The swimming rivals faced off in a 200-meter freestyle semifinal at the U.S. Olympic trials and Lochte was again the victor, narrowly out-touching the 14-time gold medalist by .02 seconds. They qualified first and second for Wednesday night's final.
Outside of lane placement for their second trials showdown, Tuesday's result was mostly meaningless. Both swimmers were a cinch to qualify for the final. But after Lochte's dominant performance on Monday night, the stakes felt slightly raised for the routine semifinal. Phelps and Lochte are becoming swimming's Ali and Frazier and each meeting, now matter how insignificant, brings lofty expectations.
The crowd took notice when Phelps and Lochte flipped in tandem at each three walls, then grew louder as Lochte pulled ahead on him underwater in the final 50. If they weren't going all out in the final 10 meters, neither slowed much either.
"We're just great racers," Lochte said after the race. "We just want to win. We definitely kicked it in gear the last 50, me and him, even though tomorrow night, it's going to be a lot faster."
Wednesday is the next main event.
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