Ryan Lochte finished more than a second ahead of Michael Phelps in the 200-meter individual medley semifinals Friday night and immediately started planning for his busy Saturday at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.
Lochte swam two events Friday, finishing in front of Tyler Clary in the 200 backstroke semifinals before going against Phelps in the evening program's last race.
Lochte is on track to have three races Saturday night, with the 100 butterfly semifinals in addition to the finals in the 200 backstroke and 200 IM.
''I'm up for the challenge,'' he said. ''It's something I've been doing for four years now, so I'm definitely ready.''
Lochte called his backstroke and IM ''pretty solid swims.''
He touched the wall in 1 minute, 55.73 seconds in the backstroke, beating Clary by 15-hundredths of a second.
Clary already made the Olympic team by finishing second in the 200 butterfly Thursday, and he said he was able to swim much more relaxed Friday even as he continues to recover from a viral infection.
''I'm a heck of a lot more confident than I was Monday,'' he said, referring to his third-place finish in the 400 IM. ''Last night was a huge weight off my shoulders. I'm starting to feel like myself more each day.''
About 45 minutes after Lochte swam the backstroke, he clocked a 1:55.51 in the IM. Phelps finished in 1:56.66.
''I had to do what I had to do to get my hand on the wall first and get a spot for the finals,'' Lochte said. ''Tomorrow it's going to be a dogfight.''
Lochte created separation with his chief rival on the breaststroke leg, swimming it in 32.95 seconds to Phelps' 33.30.
''I knew he kind of took off,'' Phelps said, ''so I was like I probably should save something for tomorrow. I kind of shut it down once the race was kind of over. I kind of figured we were moving a little bit. 1:56 is right where I've been this year, so that's fine.''