Lochte looks to challenge Phelps at trials

Published: Friday, April 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 1, 2005 at 1:03 a.m.
In August, Gator swimmer Ryan Lochte stood with Michael Phelps on an Olympic medals podium.
In recent months, Lochte has raised his swimming profile even more, setting records and whetting expectations for photo-finish showdowns with Phelps at the world championship trials - scheduled today through Wednesday in Indianapolis - which will determine the U.S. team for the Montreal worlds in July.
Lochte won individual titles in the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley at last weekend's NCAA championships. He won both races by more than two seconds, setting an NCAA meet record of 1:38.37 in the backstroke and a U.S. record of 1:41.71 in the IM.
"Mostly I think it's the Olympics," Lochte, a junior, says of his faster times this season. "Whenever I go on the blocks, I just look over at other people, and I say to myself, 'I've been somewhere most swimmers haven't been.' "
Lochte was second to Phelps in the 200 IM at the Olympics, touching the wall more than a second behind him. Their finish in Indianapolis could be much closer.
Phelps, who won six gold medals and eight medals overall in Athens, is entered in seven trials events but said earlier this week he was undecided which of them he would swim. Lochte entered nine events but plans to swim six - the 200 and 400 IM, the 100 and 200 back, and the 100 and 200 free.
Phelps left October's short-course worlds early with a stress fracture in his back. He says his back "isn't 100 percent."
That didn't prevent him from exchanging some friendly trash talk with Lochte at the NCAA championships, where Phelps was a spectator.
"I was like, 'Get ready,' " Lochte says. "He said, 'Oh, I'm ready.' "

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