Ryan Lochte edges Michael Phelps in 400 IM on U.S. swimming trials' first day
Both Lochte and Phelps earned their first spots on the U.S. Olympic team, finishing 1-2 in the 400 IM.
OMAHA, Neb. — Ryan Lochte still has Michael Phelps' number.
But Phelps has put himself in position to go for another eight gold medals at the London Olympics.
Lochte won his latest showdown with the winningest Olympian ever, beating Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Monday night.
In taking the first spot on the Olympic team, Lochte extended his dominance of Phelps that goes back to last year's world championships, where the 27-year-old Floridian won five gold medals and both of his head-to-head races against Phelps.
"The first race is always the hardest," Lochte said. "I can take a deep breath now, relax and whatever happens, happens."
Phelps started strongly on the butterfly leg, his strongest stroke, but Lochte took command when they switched to the breaststroke. He built a lead of about a half-body length and held off Phelps in the freestyle finish, posting a time of 4 minutes, 7.06 seconds.
Phelps claimed the second Olympic spot in 4:07.89, becoming the first American male swimmer to qualify for a fourth Olympic team.
"I was very pleased with that," Phelps said. "I said if I went 4:07, I'd be happy."
Tyler Clary, who took second at the 2011 world championships, won't even get a chance to swim the event in London. He faded to third in 4:09.92 and was so upset he didn't even bother to stop for the media in the mixed zone.
Lochte is determined to repeat his brilliant performance last year in Shanghai, where he surpassed Phelps as the world's top swimmer.
"I'm definitely ready tear it up in London and show the world what the USA is all about," Lochte said.
Peter Vanderkaay became a three-time Olympian by winning the 400 free in 3:47.67.
• Elizabeth Beisel, 19, earned her second straight Olympic berth in the 400 IM, winning in 4:31.74.
• Dana Vollmer, bouncing back from failing to qualify for the Olympic team four years ago, set an American record of in the semifinals of the 100 butterfly. Her time of 56.42 edged the mark she set a year ago (56.47).