Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte have delivered 12 years of thrilling Olympic showdowns. But their last race, was not one of them.
"I wish I put on a little bit more of a show for everyone," Lochte said, still winded moments after the 200m Individual Medley in Rio.
As is usually the case, Phelps finished first to win his fourth gold medal of the 2016 games. Lochte led early, but slipped down the stretch and finished fifth.
"It's not the finish I wanted," Lochte said.
The finish of these Olympics, or Lochte's Olympic career?
"I can't say this is my last time swimming," said the 32-year-old, 12-time Olympic medalist.
"Now it's time for me to take a break, mentally and physically and get back to when I was a little kid having fun again," explained the former University of Florida star from Daytona Beach.
For now, Lochte can step back and appreciate his fourth Olympics, which concluded with one final race against his longtime rival, teammate and friend.
"It's been a long journey between me and (Phelps). We bring the best out of each other," said Lochte. "Swimming in the same pool as him, it's unbelievable. My hat goes off to him and I'll miss him."
Will Lochte's fifth place finish in his final race in Rio motivate him to return in 2020?