OMAHA, Neb. — Ryan Lochte got his busy Friday under way by qualifying fastest in the 200-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials. He returned a short time later and swam in the 200 individual medley heats, advancing with Michael Phelps to their third and last showdown.
Lochte powered off the final turn in the 200 back and won his heat by more than a body length in 1 minute, 57.24 seconds. He stopped to sign autographs for a couple of young girls as he walked off the pool deck.
He came back and qualified fourth-quickest in the 200 IM, where he’s the world champion, having beaten Phelps in the race at last year’s world meet in Shanghai.
“The 200 back is probably one of the hardest events known to swimming,” Lochte said. “It just takes all your legs out of you. Being able to come up and step up on the blocks and race like Michael Phelps, it’s definitely a challenge, but I’m up for it.”
Monte Vista Christian School alum Andrew Porter came close to making the cut in the 200 individual medley but couldn’t break through.
Porter finished with a time of 2:03.67.
Swimming in the same heat as Phelps, Porter was within a second of Phelps after 50 meters but fell behind in pace.
Porter finished 25th overall. He was 4.56 seconds behind eventual winner Conor Dwyer.
Dwyer, already on the Olympic team, led the way in 1:59.11. Phelps was second fastest in 1:59.27. Austin Surhoff, the son of former major league baseball player B.J. Surhoff, was third in 1:59.65.
Also reaching the semifinals was Olympian Peter Vanderkaay in fifth.
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