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London Olympics: Ryan Lochte tips swim cap to Chinese girl

July 29, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • Ryan Lochte prepares to compete Sunday.
Ryan Lochte prepares to compete Sunday. (Al Bello / Getty Images )

LONDON -- Ryan Lochte might have established himself as the best swimmer on the planet Saturday, but he might not have had the most impressive race.

While Lochte blew away Michael Phelps and the rest of the field in winning the men's 400-meter individual medley, Chinese teen Ye Shiwen set a world record in winning the women's 400 IM. She swam her final 50 meters faster than Lochte swam his -- 28.93 seconds for Ye, 29.10 for Lochte.

"We were all talking about that at dinner last night," Lochte said Sunday morning. "It's pretty impressive. It was a female. She's fast.

"If she was there with me, she might have beaten me."

That was a respectful joke -- Lochte's overall time was 4:05.18; Ye's was 4:28.43 -- but her time drew the attention of American swimmers in part because her winning time was five seconds faster than her qualifying time. The silver medalist, Elizabeth Beisel of the U.S., dropped half a second from her qualifying time.

"She had the race of her life," Beisel said of Ye. "Congratulations to her a million times over."

Ye, 16, is not so sure about the "race of her life" part.

"I'm still young," she said. "After training more, I'm sure I'll be even better."

Lochte said he did not get to sleep until 2 a.m. Saturday night. He said he was "a little tired" Sunday morning but still posted the second-fastest time in qualifying heats of the 200 freestyle.

Ricky Berens, who made the U.S. team in the 200 free after Phelps withdrew from the event, finished with the eighth-best time and also advanced to the semifinals. Phelps won the event at the U.S. Olympic Trials, and he has the second-best time in the world this year, behind Yannick Angel of France.


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