USA swimmer Ryan Lochte talks with Aussie Blair Evans during training at the Aquatic Centre at Olympic Park in London. Photo Tim Clayton Source: Supplied
AMERICAN superstar Ryan Lochte not only has eyes on catching Olympic legend Michael Phelps in the pool but Australia's medley head-turner Blair Evans.
It is the first time in a year for many of the youngest, fittest, most ambitious bodies in water to get together on the international stage and pooldeck hugs, handshakes, catch-ups and nods are standard.
It was the extra electricity between the laidback Lochte, who is shooting for up to six medals at these Games, and Western Australian Evans that did not go unnoticed.
There is an arch rivalry between the Aussies and Americans when it comes to vying for medals but, out of the water, they have some of the closest friendships in swimming.
Lochte slipped under several lane ropes to say hello to Evans near the blocks when he first spied her at training but it was the brief underwater hand touching that set poolside observers speculating.
The duo later left the pooldeck together to take the bus back to the athletes' village.
The powerful US swim team's first appearance at the aquatic centre in London yesterday afternoon amped up the vibe that the Olympics really are upon us when Phelps and his great rival Lochte glided into the water for training.
Anyone with 14 Olympic gold medals is going to do that and Phelps looked the toned, well-cut athlete he has to be to dare to dream of converting his seven-event program in London into another stellar gold medal haul.
Lochte, 27, has largely lived in the Phelps slipstream until now which is a bizarre thing to say about anyone with three Olympic golds, six Olympic medals and a raft of world records over his own career.
Lochte is the out-there funster that the more dour Phelps is not. Lochte could end up with four golds of his own in London in swimming's biggest turf war with Phelps.
There is a fan blog in the social networking universe called the Lochte Nation which shows the depth of his female fan base and the swimmer happily interacts.
"I'm not thinking about the money or medals or anything else; I'm just having fun racing," Lochte told the US media last week.
"Right after I get out of the pool, I'm back to being relaxed Ryan."
Evans, 21, has her sights on making the 400m individual medley final on the opening day of swimming which is set for early Sunday morning (Australian time).
Swimming fast is all that is on her mind.
"At every given moment, I'm thinking about it," Evans said recently.
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