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OMAHA, Nebraska, June 25. THE stat of the day from fellow sportswriter Erik Boal had Ryan Lochte at 0-for-9 in head-to-head swims against Michael Phelps in the men's 400 IM. Tonight, Lochte won the Battle of the Titans for the first time in his 10th try as he downed the Trials textile best in the distance medley at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Lochte raced to victory in 4:07.06 for his first win in the men's 400 IM at Trials, and surpassed Phelps' Trials textile best of 4:08.41 set back in 2004. Phelps remains in control of the overall Trials record with a 4:05.25 in Omaha during the techsuit era. Lochte, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, qualified for his third Olympics.
Phelps, meanwhile, finished second in 4:07.89 as the dynamic duo earned the first two spots on the Olympic roster. That kept Phelps' dreams alive of a first-ever threepeat by a man at the Olympics if he can turn the tide against Lochte. Phelps did, however, miss his first opportunity at his 10th Trials title, even though he already owns the record with nine.
FAST's Tyler Clary wound up third overall, with a 4:09.92, as the top three times are now the top three in the world. Kosuke Hagino of Japan had the previous top time in the world this year with a 4:10.26 at Japanese Trials earlier this year. Clary improved upon his fourth-place time in the 400 IM in 2008.
Even though Clary touched first at the 200 with a 1:58.04, Lochte's superior breaststroke leg pulled him well ahead of Phelps and Clary at the 300 with a 3:08.53. Lochte then left no doubt by powering home during the freestyle leg.
Andrew Gemmell (4:16.07), Michael Weiss (4:16.31), Chase Kalisz (4:16.32), Tyler Harris (4:18.22) and Robert Margalis (4:21.27) rounded out the championship field in the distance medley event.