Ryan Lochte has won gold in the 400-meter individual medley while Michael Phelps goes away from the event empty handed, having finished fourth. Lochte touched the wall with a time of 4:05:18, challenging for the world record. This is the first gold medal for the United States. Thiago Pereira captured silver for Brazil while won Kosuke Hagino took bronze for Japan.
“I think I’m kind of in shock right now,” Lochte said after capturing gold.
According to Swimming World, Lochte’s time is the second best ever, trailing only Phelps’ world record mark of 4:03:84 set in 2008. Swimming only seven events at the 2012 London Olympics, Phelps was never going to match his epic medal haul from Beijing but he has looked far from sharp thus far. After his fourth-place finish, he told reporters it was “just a crappy race,” via Nicole Auerbach of USA Today Sports.
“I felt fine the first 200, then I don’t know,” Phelps added, per CBS. “They just swam a better race than me, a smarter race than me, and were better prepared than me. That’s why they’re on the medal stand.”
The 400 IM Final marked the first encounter between the friendly rivals during the 2012 London Games. The duels in the pool between Phelps and Lochte were among the most anticipated matchups ahead of the games. However, this showdown between the swimming stars almost never happened after Phelps barely qualified earlier Saturday morning. The defending gold medalist placed eighth in the preliminaries, and swam in the eighth lane in this race. He was in medal contention during the race but fell off the pace as Lochte powered toward the finish.
Phelps finished 4:10 seconds after Lochte for a time of 4:09:28, per the official London 2012 website.
If both make it through their preliminary heats in other events, they could race against each other again in 200m Individual Medley finals on Thursday.