What’s the best way to celebrate 12 years of friendly competition?
On Thursday, Lochte shared a photo of himself and Michael Phelps enjoying take-out containers of spaghetti ahead the 200-meter individual medley. The race will likely be the pair’s final face-off after competing in four straight Summer Olympic Games.
“One last time! #USA #longjourney #12years,” he captioned the photo.
Both Phelps, 31, and Lochte, 32, are expected to perform well in the event finals. Phelps narrowly took first place in the semifinal with a time of 1:55.78. Lochte was close behind at 1:56.26.
Despite their longtime rivalry – Lochte often places second to his teammate, only placing over Phelps in the Olympics once in the 400-meter individual medley at the 2012 London Games – the swimmers insist there’s nothing but love and friendly competition between them.
In a joint interview with NBC after Wednesday’s semifinals, the two competitors talked about how they inspire each other.
“I love racing him,” said Phelps. “I think for me, he brings the best out of me. We’re racers, it’s meets like these that I love the most where he and I get to go and kind of duke it out.”
Added Lochte, “We bring the best out of each other. We’ve been doing it since 2004. Anytime I get up and race him, it’s the best.”
The men’s 200-meter individual medley airs on NBC Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.