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Lochte edges Phelps in encouraging 200m medley

IRVINE, California -- Ryan Lochte edged Michael Phelps in the 200m individual medley at the U.S. Swimming Championships on Sunday in a battle of the top two swimmers ever in the event.

World record-holder Lochte clocked the second-fastest time in the world this year of 1 minute 56.50 seconds to hold off Phelps, whose 18 Olympic gold medals include three 200 IM triumphs.

Only Japan's Kosuke Hagino, with a time of 1:55.38, has swum faster this year.

The three could meet in the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, in less than a fortnight, although it's not yet certain which events the Americans will opt for there.

Although the defeat means Phelps leaves the championships without a victory, the most decorated Olympian in history said his runner-up finish in 1:56.55 — third-fastest in the world this year — was an encouraging performance as he continues his comeback from a near two-year layoff.

Tyler Clary was third in 1:57.94.

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