U.S. Olympic Trials: Ryan Lochte Earns Top Seed in 200 IM Prelims

By John Lohn

OMAHA, Nebraska, July 3. FOUR years ago in Athens, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte led the United States to a gold-silver sweep in the 200 individual medley. The first step toward a repeat has been taken. The two-fastest men in the history of the event strolled through the morning preliminaries, with Phelps touching just behind Lochte.

"Today was a little rough, and I think the 100 free took a lot out of me," Lochte said. "This is a morning swim, so I just have to come back tonight and do it again."

Not long after he qualified for the semifinals of the 200 backstroke, Lochte won his heat of the medley in 1:59.49, just ahead of the 1:59.70 that Phelps produced in the final preliminary race of the morning. At last year's World Championships, Phelps set a world record of 1:54.98 and was followed in the silver-medal position by Lochte.

"I did not go out to hard," Phelps said. "I will be in the first heat tonight, so I will try to pull something out of that first heat. At this point, it is just adrenaline. It does not matter how tired you are. I still have two more events left, which are probably the most fun of my events. Tonight, I have Lochte in the IM and then [Ian] Crocker in the fly – so it will be fun."

Alex Vanderkaay qualified third for the semifinals and was the only other man under 2:01, thanks to a time of 2:00.94. T.P. Patrick was fourth in 2:01.01 and Tim Liebhold followed in 2:01.06, with the sixth through eighth positions going to Robert Margalis (2:01.33), Eric Shanteau (2:01.54) and Clark Burckle (2:01.61).

Tyler Clary took ninth (2:01.88) and the rest of the semifinalists include Dan Madwed (2:01.97), Nick D'Innocenzo (2:02.28), Geoff Rathgeber (2:02.30), Jack Brown (2:02.41), Adam Ritter (2:02.43), John Dorr (2:02.52) and Austin Surhoff (2:02.60).

Full Results

Video Footage Removed Due to NBC Restrictions
Go to Swimming World's 2008 Olympics Landing Page for the most comprehensive coverage of the meet on the Internet.

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