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Battle breakdown: Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte in the 200m individual medley

Battle breakdown: Phelps vs. Lochte in the 200m individual medley

Reviewing Michael Phelps' and Ryan Lochte's times in the 200m individual medley at the Olympics, U.S. Olympic Trials and world championships...

The 200m individual medley – a true test of a swimmer’s speed, versatility and endurance – has been won at every Olympics since 2004 by Michael Phelps. It’s been won at the world championships every year since 2009 by Ryan Lochte. The standing world record – set at the 2011 World Championships – belongs to Lochte.

Both earned the opportunity to swim the event at the Rio Olympics. For Lochte, it represents his only opportunity for an individual medal at the Olympics. He did not qualify to defend his 400m IM gold medal from 2012. For Phelps, it is an opportunity to become the only swimmer to win four consecutive gold medals in the same event (he also has this chance in the 100m butterfly).

Lochte recently described their rivalry to the media, most easily displayed in the 200m IM, as one of the greatest in sports. They own 93 Olympic and world championship medals between the two of them. They've combined for the last five world record progressions on top of all 10 of the top 10 all-time performances.

Here's how their times break down over the years.

 
  Phelps Lochte
2003 Worlds Gold, 1:56.04 Did not swim
2004 Trials First, 1:56.71 Second, 1:59.41
2004 Olympics Gold, 1:57.14 Silver, 1:58.78
2005 Worlds Gold, 1:56.68 Bronze, 1:57.79
2007 Worlds Gold, 1:54.98 Silver, 1:56.19
2008 Trials First, 1:54.80 Second, 1:55.22
2008 Olympics Gold, 1:54.23 Bronze, 1:56.53
2009 Worlds Did not swim Gold, 1:54.10
2011 Worlds Silver, 1:54.16 Gold, 1:54.00
2012 Trials First, 1:54.84 Second, 1:54.93
2012 Olympics Gold, 1:54.27 Silver, 1:54.90
2013 Worlds Did not swim Gold, 1:54.98
2015 Worlds Did not swim Gold, 1:55.81
2016 Trials First, 1:55.91 Second, 1:56.22
2016 Olympics (heats) Second, 1:58.41 First, 1:57.38
2016 Olympics (semifinal) First, 1:55.87 Second, 1:56.78

*Phelps posted the top time of 2015 at U.S. Nationals, clocking 1:54.75

Michael Phelps, Rudy Garcia-Tolson chasing 200m IM world records in Rio

"He looked at me and said ‘let’s go get that world record back in Rio. Let’s go do this one last time.’"

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