Americans Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte have battled it out many times in the pool, especially in the 200 IM. The 2011 World Championships in Shanghai were one of the highlights of that decade-long rivalry.
Lochte arrived in Shanghai as the defending world champion in both IMs. However, Phelps came in as a worthy contender for the World title in the 200, having had much success in the prior few years at international meets. That included winning an impressive 8 golds at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In Shanghai, Lochte and Phelps qualified first and second, respectively, out of the semifinals in the 200 IM. This set up a highly-anticipated battle between the two Americans in the final.
Phelps led after the butterfly leg, but Lochte caught up to him on backstroke and extended his lead by about half a body length over Phelps on the breaststroke. It looked like Phelps had a chance of catching Lochte on the freestyle leg, as the final 25 meters were almost dead-even between the two swimmers. But ultimately it was Lochte who out-touched Phelps for the win by 0.16.
Lochte’s winning time of 1:54.00 bested his own world record of 1:54.10, set at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. Phelps finished in second in a personal best of 1:54.16, while Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh snagged the bronze in 1:57.69.
In watching this video, one can see how dominant Lochte and Phelps were in their day. They were body lengths ahead of the rest of a very talented field throughout the second half of the race. Furthermore, Lochte’s world record remains untouched today, meaning that the next man who breaks it will become the first man in history to break 1:54 in the 200m IM.