Round two of the Michael Phelps-Ryan Lochte prize fight, also known as the Olympic qualifying trials, got underway this morning with the men's 200-meter freestyle preliminaries. Phelps qualified for tonight's semifinals as third seed with -- who else -- Lochte as the top seed.
"The morning felt pretty comfortable, so hopefully we can just keep everything going," Phelps said after swimming a 1:48.31. Lochte swam in the next heat, finishing at 1:48.14.
The duo are coming off of their Monday night battle in the 400-meter individual medley, a race that Phelps has owned but that Lochte won this time around. Both qualify for the event in the London Games, where the grueling race will kick off the swimming competition just over a month from now.
"It's not an easy program, but we're going to try to do some things here," Phelps said of the seven races he registered to try to qualify for in London, some of which he is expected to scratch. "I was definitely happy with getting last night out of the way."
Lochte declined to speak with reporters after his 200-free heat because he has another race coming up, the 100-meter backstroke.