Ryan Lochte Tops Michael Phelps in 400 IM Final at US Qualifiers

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJune 25, 2012

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 25:  (L-R) Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps look on after they conpeted in the championship final heat of the Men's 400 m Individual Medely during the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials at CenturyLink Center on June 25, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. Lochte finished first while Phelps finished second. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Ryan Lochte pulled away in the 400 individual medley final to edge out Michael Phelps at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Monday action.

Each competitor will be headed to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics after the trials.

Yahoo! Sports tweeted:

Ryan Lochte holds off Michael Phelps to win the 400 IM swimming trials. They are both headed to London.

— Yahoo! Sports (@YahooSports) June 25, 2012

According to USA Today, Lochte won in 4:07.06, pulling away in the breaststroke, while Phelps was close behind with a time of 4:07.89. 

While the loss may appear to mark trouble on the horizon for the 14-time Olympic gold medalist, it's worth noting that Phelps isn't in top swimming shape yet. By the time the Olympics roll around on July 27, he should be in much better shape.

It's also worth noting that Lochte has had Phelps' number recently. In the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, Lochte beat Phelps in the 200-meter freestyle and broke the world record in the 200 individual medley. Lochte is becoming a star in his own right.

There's also the question about Phelps' desire this time around. Recently, he did a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper that highlighted this. He said as much before beginning to train for London. You have to wonder if he's already retired before he, well, retires (he's expected to leave the sport after the London Games).

Phelps won a record eight gold medals in Beijing. Despite some concerns, there's no doubt that, as one of the greatest swimmers in history, he has the ability to bite a few more medals this year. How far he goes will determine how he looks in London and if his heart is truly in it.

One thing's for sure: Lochte, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, will be right there with him, gunning for glory for Team USA.

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