Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte Prepare to Face Off in 'Final Brodown' at the Olympics

Phelps and Lochte finished first and second in the semifinals for the 200-meter individual medley Wednesday

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The duel in the pool between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will come to a head in Thursday’s 200-meter individual medley, in what is likely the final showdown between the legendary swimmers.

NBC teased the highly anticipated race with a mock poster featuring the decorated Olympians titled “The Final Brodown.”

Above a photo of the competitors in their warm-up jackets, the tagline reads: “The only thing to come between them is a lane line.”

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Not long before the race, Lochte also shared a fun Instagram that proves the pair are more like buddies than rivals.

“One last time! #USA #longjourney #12years,” he captioned the image of the pair carb-loading on spaghetti while taking a pre-race soak in personal whirlpools.

Both Phelps, 31, and Lochte, 32, are expected to perform well in Thursday’s event finals. Phelps narrowly edged out his fellow countryman in the semifinals. Phelps took first place with a time of 1:55.78, but Lochte was close behind with a 1:56.26.

Phelps will be seeking his fourth-straight 200-meter individual medley Olympic title, but may be at a disadvantage after swimming in the qualifiers for the 100-meter butterfly, an event in which he holds the world record, earlier in the day.

The race is likely the last time the swimmers face off. Phelps had previously said that the 2012 London Olympics would be his last, but he came out of retirement in 2014 and went on to easily secure a spot on Team USA once again.

Phelps is the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. He has 25 medals to his credit – 21 gold, two silver and two bronze.

But Lochte is no slouch in the medals department. He has 12 of them – six gold, three silver and three bronze. (He’s the second-most decorated swimmer in Olympic history, and the 13th-most decorated Olympian overall.)

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.

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