Lochte earns trip to fourth Olympics

Despite swimming with a pulled groin, Ryan Lochte used a strong first half of the 200-metre freestyle to secure a fourth Olympic berth during United States team trials on Tuesday.

Lochte was second at the halfway point, but the 11-time Olympic medalist fell off at the end of the race to finish fourth behind Townley Haas, Conor Dwyer and Jack Conger with a time of one minute, 46.62 seconds.

His top-six finish in the event secures a spot on the 4x200-metre freestyle relay, an event Lochte has earned gold in for three consecutive Games, team at Rio.

Gunnar Bentz finished fifth followed by Clark Smith. 

Haas' time of 1:45.66 means the first-time Olympian is now the ninth-fastest American 200-metre freestyler of all time, and the seventh-fastest in the world this year.

Lochte's finish follows a disappointing third-place swim on Sunday in the 400-metre individual medley -- once his signature event.

While his flutter kick looks as strong as ever, questions remain about the efficiency of his breaststroke kick, a movement Lochte blamed for pulling his groin muscle on in prelims of the 400-metre individual medley.

He will need to push through the pain of the frog-like kick for three swims on Thursday in the 200-metre IM, an event Lochte currently holds the world record in.

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