Michael Phelps outraced Ryan Lochte in the 200-meter freestyle at the Charlotte UltraSwim but both US favorites for the London Olympics lost out to hometown hero Ricky Berens.
Berens won in 1min, 47.32secs with Phelps second in 1:48.01 and Lochte sixth in 1:49.70 in a sign that each swimmer was on a different training schedule ahead of the Olympics and the US Olympic trials next month at Omaha, Nebraska.
"We're all doing different training," Phelps said. "That's how (Lochte) has always done it. I'm sure that's what he's going to do this year. He's somebody who's a very tough racer and at the right time, he'll be there when it counts."
Lochte wore older-style briefs rather than a more modern competition suit such as the one used by Phelps, whose only other event at Charlotte will be the 200 butterfly.
"None of this is going to matter," said Lochte's coach, Gregg Troy. "No one is going to care what happened in Charlotte in another month and a half."
Lochte will return to training in Florida next week, while Phelps spends much of his time in Colorado in high-altitude training and fitness conditioning.