Swimmer Lochte edges Phelps in encouraging 200m medley
Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte pictured after the Men's 100 Meter Butterfly Final in California, August 8, 2014 - by Harry How
World record-holder Lochte clocked the second-fastest time in the world this year of 1min 56.50sec 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.