Rivalry on U.S. Olympic Swim Team may be friendlier than many think

Posted on 28. Jun, 2012 by in Sports

There have been many great rivalries in the history of the summer Olympics. At the London Games this summer, we’re going to have another close contest on our hands, but this one seems to be shaping up a little differently than many would imagine.

My dad and a number of my college buddies were competitive swimmers, so I’ve always been interested in the sport. While I don’t expect this to turn into the controversial rivalry the major sports networks would like, I think it’s going be really exciting to watch these guys go at it on the big stage and support each other. It’s nice to see that there’s still such a thing as friendly competition

Michael Phelps, winner of 14 Olympic gold medals, may not dominate this year as easily has he has in the past. Fellow Team U.S.A. member Ryan Lochte, who has racked up six medals at the summer games, has nudged his way into the swimming spotlight alongside Phelps already – and we haven’t even made it through the trials.

These two have been neck and neck from the get-go. Lochte qualified for his first Olympics back in 2004, coming in right behind Phelps in the trials before the team went off to Athens. Back then, the big rivalry was between the United States and Australia, and that year Lochte won a gold medal by helping defeat the Australian team in a 4×200-meter freestyle relay. At the same games, however, Lochte took silver in the 200-meter individual medley, while teammate Phelps took gold.

This year at the trials, Lochte has been victorious over Phelps in three consecutive relays. However, being the most awarded Olympian of all-time, Phelps naturally bounced back and beat Lochte in the 200-meter freestyle Wednesday night, showing fans of the sport that he’s not quite ready to share his throne.

Though these swimmers are swapping victories, it’s hard to paint this story as an unfriendly rivalry, though the media is definitely trying to spin it that way. They both want to win in London and they both expect to, but out of the pool, they’re friends. I’ve never heard either one say anything unkind about the other. Instead they behave like the cordial sportsmen Americans hope their champions to be. Still, any event that these two swim together in London will be very exciting.

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