INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, July 7. WITH world record holder Michael Phelps retiring from this event after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the U.S. has some huge shoes to fill heading to Rome.
The Americans should do just fine with Daytona Beach's Ryan Lochte and Club Wolverine's Tyler Clary putting on a show with an epic battle. Clary held his own by being under Phelps' world record pace with a 2:31.20 at the 250-meter mark, ahead of Phelps' 2:31.26. Lochte, however, had a much stronger back half en route to a triumphant time of 4:06.40.
"I am glad that I got the first race out of the way," Lochte said. "My first race is always the hardest. I just swam my own race. I knew Clary would go out fast, and at the end it is just every man for himself."
Clary, meanwhile, wound up taking silver with a swift time of 4:06.96, much stronger than his lifetime best of 4:11.29. The effort moved Clary into fourth all time as he become just the fourth man under the 4:09 barrier. Phelps (4:03.84), Lochte (4:06.08) and Laszlo Cseh (4:06.16) are the only men in front of Clary.
Both of Lochte's and Clary's times demolished Ous Mellouli's previous top time in the world this year of 4:10.53.
Tucson Ford's Jack Brown had the best seat in the house for the swim with a third-place time of 4:13.71.
Notably, Phelps' reduced schedule from his usual gargantuan docket wound up seeing the superstar sit out the first day of swimming.