Michael Phelps Tops Ryan Lochte in 200M Freestyle Final at US Trials

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIJune 27, 2012

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte renewed their rivalry in Omaha once again on Wednesday night, this time to compete in the 200-meter freestyle, with Phelps edging Lochte for a tight victory.

Both men qualified for the U.S. Olympic team, but the bigger implications came in deciding which American swimmer would win the rivalry.

While Phelps dominated Lochte for years and took home eight gold medals in the Beijing Games, after poor training and after he "blatantly ignored his coach's training plan" (per Amy Shipley of The Washington Post), Phelps has fallen off the pace.

Lochte, on the other hand, has done nothing but improve.

This once-lopsided rivalry has evolved into the fiercest competition in swimming, hands down. These two battled once more in the 200 free in the U.S. Trials, and after losing the 200-meter individual medley to Lochte the previous night, Phelps took the free.

While neither man was close to the world record, or even Phelps' time of one minute and 42.96 seconds at the 2008 Olympic Games, they both did well.

It was an incredibly close race, marked by the fact that Phelps' time of 1:45.70 edged Lochte's time of 1:45.75 by just five one-hundredths of a second.

This close race shows just how fierce the rivalry is between these two. While there is no open hostility like that shown between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, these two come down to the wire in almost every race.

Lochte beat Phelps in the semifinals but Phelps beat Lochte in the finals, setting up what will be a huge showdown between the two in the London Games.

These two will be pushing it to the limits in the pool, both in Omaha for the rest of the U.S. Trials and in London for the 2012 Olympics. This is one rivalry that you can't afford to miss.