The 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials got under way in Omaha Monday morning, with preliminary heats in the men's 400m IM, and as expected, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps were the top-two qualifiers in the event, which is considered to be the most grueling in the sport.
Lochte turned in a time of 4:10.66, more than four seconds faster than Phelps, who finished in 4:14.72. Chase Kalisz qualified third (4:15.78) and Tyler Clary, the one who could break-up a Lochte-Phelps 1-2 finish, was fourth-fastest (4:15.88).
Afterward, Phelps called his swim "all right" and said he was "fine with it," but Lochte wasn't so coy, labeling his rivals' prelim "The easiest 4:14 [Phelps has] ever done." Expect another classic duel Monday night in the finals.
Phelps won the event at the 2008 trials and then took the gold medal in Beijing, too, setting the world record (4:03.84) in the process (Phelps not only owns the WR in the event, but also the American, U.S. Open, LC Nationals and Olympic Trials records). However, Phelps has not swum the 400m IM in a major international competition finals since the 2008 Summer Games -- he could only manage to qualify for the consolation finals at the 2010 Pan Pacific championships.
NBC has live coverage of the men's 400m IM, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Men's 400m IM Finalists:
Ryan Lochte -- 4:10.66
Michael Phelps -- 4:14.72
Chase Kalisz -- 4:15.78 (lifetime best)
Tyler Clary -- 4:15.88
Tyler Harris -- 4:18.64
Michael Weiss -- 4:19.05 (lifetime best)
Andrew Gemmell -- 4:19.19
Robert Margalis -- 4:19.33
Stay with our StoryStream for the latest from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming in Omaha as Team USA is decided.