OMAHA, Neb. — Injured Ryan Lochte advanced to the 200-meter freestyle semifinals while swimming in pain Monday at the U.S. Olympic trials.
Lochte qualified fifth fastest in 1 minute, 47.77 seconds despite a groin injury he sustained in the 400 individual medley prelims a day earlier. He failed to make the U.S. team in that event, finishing third in the final four years after winning gold at the London Games. Only the top two in that event earned a berth in Rio.
“It’s a constant pain,”’ he said. “But I have to try to forget about it the best I can. I’m trying to listen to music more.”
What Lochte can’t tune out is how the injury affects his turns and butterfly kick coming off the wall.
“I put everything I could into that (last) turn and it didn’t feel right,” he said. “But I made it back tonight, so I got a lane. You get a lane, you get a shot.”’
Lochte needs a top-eight finish in the evening semis to reach Tuesday’s final. He decided against a cortisone shot before the prelims in favor of massage and stretching.
“If it acts up even more later on, I’ll get it. I’m in pain. But pain is temporary,” he said before smiling as he turned to walk away. “I guess.”
Lochte still has multiple chances to make his fourth Olympic team and add to his haul of 11 career medals.
Swimmers finishing in the top four of the 100 and 200 freestyles earn a spot on the U.S. team. If, after adding second-place finishers from each of the other events there is still room on the team, the fifth-place finishers from the two freestyle events are added. If there’s still room, the sixth-place finishers from the freestyles are added.
Conor Dwyer, who finished second in the 400 free on Sunday, led 200 free prelims in 1:46.66. Jack Conger was second at 1:47.25.
Also moving on to the 16-man semis were Tyler Clary in eighth and Connor Jaeger in 15th. Jaeger is already going to Rio after winning the 400 free.