Michael Phelps beat Ryan Lochte in the 200-meter backstroke Sunday at the Charlotte UltraSwim.
Phelps, who lost to Peng Wu the previous two nights, keying more on clocking consistent splits for this USA Grand Prix meet than wins. He finished in 1 minute, 57.20 seconds, passing Lochte after the second turn.
"I saw a splash out of the corner of my eye and saw the green suit, so I knew it was Ryan," said Phelps, winner of 16 Olympic gold medals. "I ended up with two terrible races and one halfway decent one."
Lochte finished in 1:58.82 at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.
"I tried my hardest," said Lochte, who said he tweaked his knee on Sunday after first injuring it twisting to get something out of the backseat of his car. "It's fun just going out and racing. This meet wasn't one of my greatest."
Rebecca Soni, who raced during the meet's first two days, waited out Sunday's events and won a $20,000 award based on a points system for the Charlotte meet that factored in the top two FINA scoring events, as well as bonuses for records. Soni, who finished second last season, was followed by Missy Franklin and Eric Shanteau.
Franklin, 16 and ineligible to accept the prize money by NCAA rules for any recruitable athlete, overcame last-day fatigue to smash an event record in the 200 back, by nearly 3 seconds, finishing in 2:08.36.
Shanteau edged Markus Rogan to win the 200 individual medley in 1:59.82.
"We were exhausted coming into today," said Franklin, who also set the meet mark in the 200 free on Friday. "I kept telling them, 'One more session, guys.' We're all so tired, but really excited. Getting to do events back-to-back is good experience."
Franklin's efforts caught Phelps' eye.
"She can get out and swim with anybody, and isn't at all fazed by it," Phelps said.
Hungarian Katinka Hosszu set a meet record of 2:12.29 in the 200 IM, topping Southern California teammate Stina Gardell.
"After a week off, we we've working hard, adding more yardage, swimming longer stuff," Hosszu said. " As the World Championships get closer, I wanted to be swimming faster and faster as this meet went on. I felt I was slow on the first day here."
Ricky Berens' win in the 100 freestyle (49.46) was his first in almost 10 years in his hometown meet.
'If I'm not last at the 50, it's a good place for me to be," said Berens, who punched the air twice in celebration after touching the wall first. "And my goggles didn't even fill up this time. I just wanted to take it out strong from the start, take that to the turn, and get home as fast as possible. It's great to get stand up there and get what Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte get with the loudness of the cheers."
Distance specialist Chloe Sutton won the 800 free in 8:31.20, ahead of Andreina Pinto's 8:33.37.
"It's not what I hoped to get, and I expected to do better," said Sutton, who wore a special cap for 12-year-old teammate Jessie Rees, recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. "I usually swim with control and balance, and am faster and stronger normally. I peeked at the 200 and saw 2:06, and had to sprint the rest of the race."
Sutton's cap featured Jessie's catchphrase of "Never, ever give up."
"She inspires me," Sutton said.
Natalie Coughlin edged teammate Dana Vollmer to win the 100 free in 54.19, and Ryan Feeley of Badger Swim Club won the 1500 free in 15:27.04. Sean Ryan finished second in 15:32.87.
Swim Ontario's Brittany McLean, Tera Van Beilen, Paige Schultz and Victoria Chan won the women's 400 medley relay in 4:15.94, over SwimMAC Carolina. That club won the weekend's final event, the men's 400 medley relay, with Nicholas Thoman, Nelson Westby, Davis Tarwater and Eugene Godsoe.