Ryan Lochte ready for pool duel of the London 2012 Olympics against Michael Phelps

 

Ryan Lochte will begin his bid for six gold medals tomorrow morning believing he has never been in better shape. Lochte is set to mount the most determined challenge yet to Michael Phelps's long-term supremacy in the pool and yesterday exuded confidence during his first public appearance in London.

"I know this is going to be my year," said Lochte. "All the training I have put in is going to pay off – I know it. I am in way better shape [than Beijing]. I just know I am ready. I am not going for silver or bronze. I am going for gold."

Tomorrow's opening day of the pool programme will pitch the two against each other in the 400m individual medley – immediately denying one of them the opportunity to win every event they enter. Lochte has targeted six gold medals – one fewer than Phelps – from his third Olympic Games. He won two golds to Phelps' eight in Beijing.

Phelps won the 400m Individual Medley four years ago – as he did in Athens in 2004 – but Lochte qualified for London ahead of Phelps at the US trials in Omaha last month. It was another sign of the huge improvement the 27-year-old has made since Beijing. That included out-performing Phelps in the world championships in Shanghai last year.

"I had a four-year plan coming out of Beijing to get here to London," said Lochte, who has transformed his training schedule. It now includes a large amount of weight training outside the pool and includes an unconventional programme where he lifts and drags huge tyres and chains around his training base in Florida.

"That is one of the edges I now have," he said. "There is not another swimmer in the world doing what I'm doing. I have increased power and that has given me an edge – look at my year. I am going to be a lot faster."

His improvement since Beijing has been dramatic. His ability has never been doubted but since he overhauled his training regime and increased its intensity, the medals have been piling up on his mantelpiece.

In Shanghai last year – a meeting he says he was not entirely happy with despite five gold medals – he became the first man to break a world record since the banning of textile bodysuits. This will be the first Olympic Games since the ban – the suits led to a torrent of world records – and for Lochte that is something to be welcomed.

"It was not the swimmer making the suit," he said. "It was the suit making the swimmer. Now that has been reversed again – I like it! It shows who the real swimmers are. The ones who do the hard work are rewarded."

The duel between the two, who have been friends for the best part of a decade since competing against each other at junior levels, has captivated the US – as well as the swimming world beyond. As well as the 400m IM, Lochte will swim the 200m IM – where he will be up against Phelps again – the 200m backstroke, the 200m freestyle and the relays.

"Back home people are talking about me and Michael," said Lochte. "It's just talk. We will see what happens in a couple of days."

Medal count: Most decorated Olympians

18 Larisa Latynina (Soviet Union, gymnast) 9 gold, 5 silver, 4 bronze

16 Michael Phelps (US, swimmer) 14G, 2B

15 Nikolai Andrianov (Soviet Union, gymnast) 7G, 5S, 3B

13 Boris Shakhlin (Soviet Union, gymnast) 7G, 4S, 2B

13 Takashi Ono (Japan, gymnast) 5G, 4S, 4 B

13 Edoardo Mangiarotti (Italy, fencing) 6G, 5S, 2B

James Orr

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Arts and Entertainment
A shared vision: Cerys Matthews has been familiarising herself with Dylan Thomas’s material, for a revealing radio programme
arts + entsA singer, her uncle and a special relationship with Dylan Thomas
News
In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event
people
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years