The torch may be passing in U.S. men’s swimming, as the first Ryan Lochte-Michael Phelps showdown has taken place and Lochte has not only beaten Phelps, but earned the first gold medal for Team USA of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
In the 400 Individual Medley (two lengths of the pool in each Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle), Lochte cruised to victory with a time of 4:05.18, over three seconds faster than Brazil’s Thiago and Japan’s Kosuke, who took second and third.
Phelps, who set the world record in this event in Beijing in 2008, actually finished fourth with a time of 4:09.28. Phelps almost didn’t make the finals for this event, finishing in the 8th spot after the semifinal heats earlier Saturday (July 28). This is the first event in which Phelps has failed to medal since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.