RIO DE JANEIRO (CBSNewYork/AP) — Ryan Lochte was tired of sitting around his room in the Olympic athletes’ village and watching his U.S. teammates in the pool.
He was raring to get racing.
MORE: Medal Count
Lochte competed for the first time in the Rio Games on Tuesday, anchoring the Americans’ 4×200-meter freestyle relay in the preliminary heats. Clark Smith, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz joined Lochte to get the U.S. into the final with the second fastest time of 7 minutes, 6.74 seconds.
Britain’s quartet of Stephen Milne, Robbie Renwick, Dan Wallace and Duncan Scott had the top time of 7:06.31.
The Russians are a medal threat for the night final, qualifying third in 7:06.81.
Besides the relay, Lochte’s only other event in Rio is the 200 individual medley, where he and teammate Michael Phelps resume their longtime rivalry.
“It was rough because I love racing,” he said of waiting until Day Four of competition. “Sitting back in my room and just watching finals, I was like, ‘Man, I can’t wait until it’s my time.’ Now it’s ours and I think we’re just going to keep the ball rolling from what we’ve done the last two days.”
In Lochte’s absence, the Americans have won 15 medals, including four golds.
“Everything they did, especially last night, really got me going,” he said. “We were definitely pumped up for this morning.”
The biggest surprise of the preliminaries was Daniel Gyurta’s failure to advance in the 200 breaststroke. He won’t defend his Olympic title from four years ago after finishing 17th. He fell two-hundredths of a second short of a spot in the semifinals. The top qualifier was Anton Chupkov of Russia in 2:07.93. His teammate, Ilya Khomenko, also advanced as did Americans Kevin Cordes and Josh Prenot.
American Nathan Adrian has some work to do in the 100 freestyle. The defending Olympic champion grabbed the 16th and last qualifying spot for the semifinals with a time of 48.58 seconds. He was 0.68 seconds behind top qualifier Kyle Chalmers of Australia, who was timed in 47.90.
“I just didn’t know it was going to be that close,” Adrian said. “I’m impressed how far the world has come. That was certainly safe four years ago. Just got to be that much more sharp through all the heats, semis and finals these days.”
The other American, Caeleb Dressel, was second fastest in 47.91. Also moving into the semis was Santo Condorelli of Canada and Vladimir Morozov, one of the Russian swimmers initially banned from the Rio Games.
In the women’s 200 butterfly, Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain was the fastest qualifier in 2:06.64. She earned bronze in the 400 IM last weekend.
U.S. teammates Hali Flickinger and Cammile Adams tied for the second-fastest time of 2:06.67 while swimming in different heats.
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