For Phelps & Lochte, another matchless episode of long-running hit

    Gonna take a sentimental journey
 
    Gonna set my heart at ease
 
    Gonna make a sentimental journey
 
    To renew old memories

 
           -- From the classic 1945 No. 1 hit song, “Sentimental Journey”

OMAHA, Neb. – They should have cleared everyone else out of the pool, leaving Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in a match race, because that is what Friday night’s final of the 200-meter individual medley at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming turned out to be.

Again.

No one expected anything else from the two men who have battled each other for global supremacy in the event over 13 years, creating the greatest rivalry in the history of their sport.

And the two 31-year-olds now have a chance to do it one more time at the 2016 Olympics next month in Rio.

“It isn’t over,” Lochte said. “We’ve still got another month to put everything together and really give the world a show.”

There never has been a longer-running hit in the sport.

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‘Hurdle Nerd’ Harrison Defies The Clock In Night-And-Day Effort To Make This Her Time

Keni Harrison competing at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.  (Getty Images)

Keni Harrison competing at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.  (Getty Images)

It’s 2 a.m. A text message pops into Edrick Floreal’s phone. Whether Floreal is still awake when it arrives or sees it a few hours later, he doesn’t have to look at the message to know who sent it.

Who else would be seeking answers in the wee hours to questions about biomechanics and physics?

The Harrison family, which includes nine adoptees (including Keni, front row, 2d from left) among their 11 children, at Christmas 2015.  (Photo courtesy Harrison family.)

The Harrison family, which includes nine adoptees (including Keni, front row, 2d from left) among their 11 children, at Christmas 2015.  (Photo courtesy Harrison family.)

Who else would have just finished watching video of her latest workout and wondering what her coach has to say about takeoff angle and velocity?

Who else but Keni Harrison, the woman whom Floreal calls the “hurdle nerd,” no matter that attention deficit disorder has always made written instruction, especially in math, a struggle for her?

“When it comes time to talk hurdling, she turns into some kind of Einstein,” Floreal said.

It doesn’t seem to make any difference that Floreal has told her she should be sleeping rather than thinking and talking (in the virtual sense) about hurdles at 2 a.m. He tried pointing out to her that if Harrison were going to stay up worrying, he was going to go to sleep, so the responses still would have to wait until the next morning.

“When I’m up at night, I like to go through what I did that day,” Harrison said. “When I have a question, I don’t look at the time, I just text him. I love asking questions.”

Floreal can laugh about occasionally losing this argument. He knows that the way Harrison processes the answers about the best way to run 100 meters while hurdling ten 33-inch-high barriers has helped make her a global sensation this Olympic track and field season.

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For Missy Franklin, A Struggle In Trying To Face The Big Picture

OMAHA, Neb. – For Missy Franklin, the difference in coming back to Omaha for another U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming is highly visible.

“I’m on the doors now, which is a pretty big deal,” she said before the meet began.

There are full-length, larger-than-life photos of her on doors leading into CenturyLink Center. They celebrate the 6-foot, 2-inch Franklin’s stature in the sport, the Olympian heights she reached through the portal of the 2012 trials.

Four years later, after having lost time to back problems yet bearing a bigger load of expectations, Franklin has the same effervescence but is a diminished swimmer. The door to another Olympics could shut in her face.

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For Young Swimmer Walsh, Ecstasy Followed By Brief Agony At Trials

Gretchen (l) and Alex Walsh in front of the huge Katie Ledecky mural outside the site of the 2016 Olympic swim trials.  (Photo courtesy Walsh family)

Gretchen (l) and Alex Walsh in front of the huge Katie Ledecky mural outside the site of the 2016 Olympic swim trials.  (Photo courtesy Walsh family)

OMAHA, Neb. – The draw for Monday morning’s first round of the 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming put Alex Walsh two lanes from Missy Franklin in the 15th of 16 heats.

Walsh could not have been happier.

“She’s one of my biggest idols because she’s always so positive,” Walsh said of Franklin, reigning Olympic champion in the event. “I was ecstatic.”

It got even better when Franklin asked the 14-year-old Walsh for help with her swim cap before heading to the pool deck for the race.

“That was pretty great,” Walsh said. 

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Litherland Triplets Embrace Brother Jay’s Moment At Swim Trials

Jay Litherland (left) and Chase Kalisz celebrate after taking the top two spots, with Kalisz first, in the 400-meter individual medley at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.  (Getty Images)

Jay Litherland (left) and Chase Kalisz celebrate after taking the top two spots, with Kalisz first, in the 400-meter individual medley at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.  (Getty Images)

OMAHA, Neb. – Jay Litherland pulled himself out of the water and into a quick hug from one of his brothers. And then another hug, from his other brother.

Mick and Kevin Litherland had scampered onto the pool deck at CenturyLink Center with the same speed Jay showed over the final two laps of the 400-meter individual medley, the speed that allowed him to finish second Monday night in the first final of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming.

These are three brothers separated by a minute each at birth, three brothers whose lives in three countries have been 20 years of fraternal embrace, three brothers who chose to stay in the same bedroom for a couple months after their parents moved into a house with a bedroom for each.

“It was kind of hard to move out,” Jay said, “and it felt really weird when we did. We’ve never really split up.”

No wonder the moment when Jay put himself into a position to be on the U.S. Olympic team was something the Litherland triplets could not wait to share.

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