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First blood to Lochte
Ryan Lochte deposed Michael Phelps as the Olympic 400 metres individual medley champion as he secured a dominant victory at the Aquatics Centre.
The race was meant to be the first instalment of a showdown between him and Phelps but ultimately Lochte was never threatened and touched in four minutes 05.18 seconds.
Brazil's Thiago Pereira was second with Japanese 17-year-old Kosuke Hagino third, just a year after taking bronze at the World Junior Championships.
Phelps, though, was third at the halfway stage before dropping out of the medals on the breaststroke leg, the Baltimore swimmer unable to claw back the deficit.
The crowd in the Aquatics Centre had given a rousing welcome to all the swimmers but the noise was deafening when Phelps, with his regulation earphones, was introduced.
However, the 27-year-old did not have his usual zip and his crown appeared to be slipping away early on when he failed to head the field after the first leg, which is his specialist butterfly.
He did not attempt to make any excuses, saying: "I felt fine for the first 200m. I couldn't really go in the last 100m. I saw Thiago out there and they just swam a better race than me, swam a smarter race than me and were more prepared. That's why they're on the medal stand."
He added: "I don't think the lane has anything to do with it.
"I felt I just couldn't really put myself in a good spot for that race. It's frustrating, sure, but I was under 4:10 three times, twice in the last month, month and a half.
"So, it's okay. It's just really frustrating to start off on a bad note like this. It's pretty upsetting. But I think the biggest thing now is just to try to get past this and move forward."