“A lot of people say Michael is inhuman,” Lochte said. “But you know what? He’s just like all of us, but he trains harder and he knows how to win. That’s what you have to learn. You’ve got to find ways to beat him.”
That’s what Lochte has done since Beijing, when he got bronze medals in both the 200 and 400 medley races as Phelps won two of his record eight gold medals. Lochte changed his diet. He adopted a workout regimen that involves throwing tires and pulling massive chains and, unlike Phelps, he never veered away from the sport.
As Phelps pondered whether he even wanted to swim in his fourth Olympic Games, Lochte, a seven-time Olympic medal winner, barely took a vacation, working harder than ever under his coach Gregg Troy at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Lochte said Phelps approached him after the race in the massage area of the Olympic swimming venue.
“He congratulated me, said ‘Way to go,’ ” Lochte said. “[He said,] ‘We haven’t lost the 400 IM for the USA in a long time, so way to keep it going.”
Lochte, who will face Phelps again in the 200 medley, said he expects the defeat to provide a significant jolt. Phelps could still contend for as many as six medals here — if Troy, also the U.S. Olympic team coach, places him on all three relays.
“Just by history, Phelps is good at shorter events,” Lochte said. “The next races, he’s going to light it up.”
Notes: The U.S. women’s 4x100 relay team, which featured 17-year-old star Missy Franklin, claimed a bronze medal as Australia won the gold and Netherlands the silver in Saturday’s final. Franklin posted the fastest relay leg (53.52), but the U.S. team of Franklin, Jessica Hardy, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt finished 1.09 seconds behind the Aussies with a finish in 3.34.24. Natalie Coughlin, who swam in the morning heats of the relay, earned her 12th Olympic medal, tying Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson for the most among U.S. women. . . .
Elizabeth Beisel won the silver in the women’s 400 individual medley, finishing behind China’s Ye Shiwen, who broke Stephanie Rice’s world record in the event. Ye finished in 4:28.43; Beisel came home in 4:31.27. . . . American Peter Vanderkaay got the bronze in the men’s 400 freestyle as China’s Sun Yang got the gold. Sun finished in 3:40.14 — just .07 off of Paul Biedermann’s world record — and Park Taehwan got second in 3:43.06. Vanderkaay finished in 3:44.69.