OMAHA (Nebraska) • Nathan Adrian, Cammile Adams and Josh Prenot all scored wins at the United States Olympic swimming trials on Thursday to book their tickets to the Rio Games, but were pushed out of the spotlight by old foes Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
The evening got off to an electrifying start with Prenot chasing down Kevin Cordes - who trained in Singapore last year as part of the Singapore Swimming Association's Foreign Athlete Sparring Programme - to win the 200m breaststroke in 2min 7.17sec, the second-fastest time ever recorded in the event.
But it is how the night finished, with Olympic champion Phelps and world champion and world record holder Lochte cruising to easy wins in their 200m individual medley semi-finals, that had the swim world buzzing, setting up one more showdown between the long-time rivals in the final.
"It's going to be good," Phelps predicted. "You'll have an exciting race."
"It's one of the greatest rivalries in sports," added Lochte.
While Phelps has already secured a spot on his fifth US Olympic squad and Lochte his fourth, Prenot's race represented his last chance to make Rio.
Cordes, winner of the 100m breast, went out at a blistering pace, making the last turn 1.19sec under world record pace.
But the 22-year-old could not hold on over the final 50m, as Prenot beat him to the wall to qualify for his first Olympic Games.
Adrian is also headed to Rio to defend the 100m freestyle gold he won in London, after blazing to victory in a time of 47.72sec in swimming's blue-riband event.
Adams, who was disqualified in the 200m butterfly heats and then reinstated, took advantage of her second chance, clinching her berth with a 2:06.80 time.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE