The 400m individual medley had been billed as Lochte vs Phelps, with montage after montage replaying the phenomenal strengths of both American swimmers.
In reality, however, the event proved a mismatch as Lochte cantered to victory while Phelps was not able to add to any of his 16 Olympic medals, finishing in fourth.
Having only just qualified for the final in eighth place, Phelps is clearly struggling to find the form that saw him claim a phenomenal eight golds in Beijing four years ago.
The two face each other again in the 200m individual medley on Wednesday and in current form it’s difficult to see past another Lochte gold medal, at 1/2.
Phelps is 13/8 to get revenge over his new Olympic rival, and the head-to-head should be a closer one this time round. Phelps has long regarded the 400m individual medley as his weakest event, and it was a surprise to many that he decided to take part after vowing never to do it again after Beijing. He round.should offer more by the time the 200m equivalent comes a
By the time the two face each other again the two swimmers, particularly Phelps, will have had plenty of time to rid any early Games rustiness, with a lot of racing to be done. Indeed both could well enter their next duel with more golds in the bag for the USA.
Lochte competes in the 200m freestyle (10/11 to win) and the 200m backstroke (1/4) on Sunday evening, while Phelps will be expected to add to his formidable gold medal tally in Monday’s 100m (4/7) and 200m Butterfly (1/3). They’ll also be joining forces for the relay events, making the States a tempting punt in the medley relays.
But with question marks over Phelps’ fitness and desire, a hungry and in-form Lochte remains the favourite for good reason.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Rebecca Adlington has qualified in eighth place and just made Sunday’s 400m freestyle final, where she is 6/1 to defend the first of two Olympic titles she won four years ago.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing