Phelps, the former world record-holder and reigning Olympic champion, led at every turn with Lochte right on his shoulder. Both came hard off the final turn, with Lochte putting on the pressure before Phelps’ final push gave him the victory in 1min 45.70sec.
Lochte, who beat Phelps in the event at last year’s World Championships in Shanghai, was second in 1:45.75. The two are already booked for an Olympic clash in the 400m individual medley, in which Lochte beat Phelps on Monday.
Phelps also lost to Lochte in their 200m free semi-final on Tuesday and said he had made some changes to his race tactics. “I saw the semi-finals and watching the turns I just got crushed on the wall so I tried to sort of use more speed and try to take it out,” he said. Lochte was already looking forward to doing it all again in London. “I love racing against him. I could be a pool length ahead of him, and he’ll still be there at the end,” Lochte said. —