Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lochte Lays Down a Marker as He Finally Gets One over Phelps

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lochte Lays Down a Marker as He Finally Gets One over Phelps

Article excerpt

Byline: Marco Giacomelli

RYAN LOCHTE beat swimming great Michael Phelps for the first time in a major international meeting today as he took gold in the 200metres freestyle at the World Championships in Shanghai.

Both Americans are 26 but until last year Lochte had spent much of his career in Phelps's shadow.

Lochte, though, was named best male swimmer of the year in 2010 and laid down a marker for London 2012 by overhauling Phelps in a thrilling final, leaving his rival shattered.

Phelps led after the first two turns but with around 50m to go he could not keep Lochte at bay any more.

Lochte went on to claim the title in 1min 44.44sec with Phelps managing to hold on to silver, trailing the champion by 0.35sec.

World record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany, who beat Phelps to gold in 2009, took the bronze.

After collecting the eighth world gold medal of his career, Lochte said: "I guess it was my time [to beat Phelps] today."

Phelps's defeat may give his rivals a boost but a former team-mate says that could rebound on them come the Games. Aaron Peirsol believes if Phelps does not reach his own high standards then he will arrive in London next year with a point to prove as he looks to add to his 14 Olympic golds.

"This meeting is important for him," said retired Peirsol, 28, a five-time Olympic champion. "If he doesn't do well it may push him that much harder into London. I would be more afraid of Michael next year if he does not do well here and if I was his other competitors I'd be thinking ... 'you know what that means?' I am sure he will do well in Shanghai but I know the one meet he will be ready for will be London.

Michael will take care of business."

Aware of the need to conserve energy for the final, Phelps did not push himself in the preliminaries of the 200m butterfly earlier in the day. The world record holder won his heat in 1min 56.77sec, ranking him 11th of the 16 in the semi-finals. …

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