Duel in the Pool

When Michael Phelps raced Libby Trickett at Duel in the Pool

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At the peak of his career, Michael Phelps was upstaged in a race by a swimmer who went four seconds slower.

Australian Libby Trickett did more than hold her own against Phelps to lead off the opening event of the 2007 Duel in the Pool, a mixed-gender 4x100m freestyle relay.

Trickett, then known as Libby Lenton shortly before she got married, became the first woman to break 53 seconds, while Phelps went 48.72 in a head-to-head at the Sydney 2000 Olympic swimming venue.

“I was trash-talking … asking what he has got and telling him if he is going to bring it tonight. I think deep down he was really scared of me,” Trickett said, joking, according to The Associated Press. “Before the race he said good luck. He is a good competitor to race against, and I will remember that for the rest of my life — that I raced against Michael Phelps.”

Australia went on to win the relay by 2.49 seconds, in large part because Trickett swam .31 faster than the women’s 100m free world record. Normally, relay leadoff swims are eligible to break individual world records.

But FINA later ruled that Trickett’s time was not record eligible because the mixed 4x100m free was not an approved event. (Mixed-gender relays debuted at the world championships in 2015 and will debut at the Olympics in Tokyo next year.)

“I am a little disappointed because I know in my heart what time I swam and that time is faster than the existing world record,” Trickett said in 2007, according to Swimming Australia. “However, having said that, the disappointment can take nothing away from the fact I now know I am capable of swimming under 53 seconds and I will continue to strive to improve every aspect of my swimming.”

Trickett broke the world record officially at the 2008 Australian Olympic Trials, clocking 52.88 to take .42 off German Britta Steffen‘s mark. The world record has since been lowered all the way to 51.71 by Swede Sarah Sjöström at the 2017 World Championships.

Phelps’ time was impressive, his second-fastest 100m free at the point in his career. He raced tired, two days after that year’s world championships finished in Melbourne. Phelps earned seven golds at those worlds, and he has said 2007 was his peak, rather than 2008.

He raced strategically against Trickett, not allowing her to draft off him in the adjacent lane.

“I remember going down the first lap, and she was kind of right at my shins,” Phelps said with a laugh, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I was like, ‘Oh, this is not good.’ I knew she would jump up on the lane line and kind of drag, the smart way to do it. I remember I was going right into the 50 [meter] wall, and I turned and went completely on the other side of the lane.”

Trickett won five golds at the 2007 Worlds and another four medals at the 2008 Olympics, though Steffen edged her for 100m free gold by .04.

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U.S. keep undefeated Duel in the Pool streak alive over Europe

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INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Lochte led the U.S. to continue their undefeated 7-0 streak at Duel in the Pool, a Ryder Cup-style meet, in Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon. The final score was U.S. 155, Europe 107. Full results can be found here.

Lochte won the 400m individual medley and was third in the 200m backstroke on night one, and doubled up again to win the 200m freestyle. He was disqualified in his second race though, the 200m IM, for a turn violation on the last wall.

“I am old, for swimming,” he told NBC’s Carolyn Manno before his disqualification was announced. “I’m one of the oldest swimmers I’ve been around. Hopefully, I can teach these kids something.”

Nathan Adrian doubled up in the sprint freestyles and won both the 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle against the European squad’s Vladimir Morozov.

Missy Franklin set an American short course meters record in her winning 200m freestyle, over Europe’s Katinka Hosszu. The pair faced off later on in the 100m back, but neither earned points for the their teams. Franklin’s American record was one of 16 set throughout the meet.

“The 200m free is hard for me because there’s so much going on,” Franklin told media after the meet. “I can see everyone. I know what everyone’s doing.”

Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers set a short course meters world record in the 100m backstroke, shaving 0.02 seconds off the previous record from 2009.

“I knew it was going to be close,” Grevers said through USA Swimming. “I felt really good yesterday leading off the relay … I thought there would be a chance and luckily everything went really well.”

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage of the meet Dec. 19 from 4-6 p.m. ET.

WATCH LIVE: Duel in the Pool — 7 p.m. ET

Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin
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Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte lead the U.S. against European all-stars on the first of two days of competition at the seventh Duel in the Pool in Indianapolis, on NBC Sports Live Extra on Friday night.

Franklin, Lochte and the U.S. hope to run their Duel in the Pool record to 7-0. The first three meets (all in odd-numbered years) were wins over Australia. The last three came against European all-stars.

The European roster includes the world’s best female all-around swimmer, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, who in August swept the individual medleys at a second straight World Championships.

Start lists for Friday’s events can be found here.

WATCH LIVE: Duel in the Pool — 7 p.m. ET