Cross-country flirting heats up pool
Australia's Blair Evans and American Ryan Lochte set tongues wagging after the pair flirted during training and left the poolside together, reports Michael Cowley.PT0M57S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-22olo 620 349 July 25, 2012
ARE we looking at swimming's next big power couple? The pooldeck has not been this abuzz with chatter since Eamon Sullivan and Stephanie Rice were the ''it'' couple.
When the Americans arrived in town on Monday and hit the pool that afternoon, everyone was keen for a look at Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, and it seems Australian medley swimmer Blair Evans was particularly eager to catch up with the latter.
The teams will be enemies when the swimming competition begins on Saturday, but looking at Lochte and Evans on Monday, there certainly appeared to be a pre-Games truce and no sign of any tension.
Australia's Blair Evans (left) and America's Ryan Lochte share a moment in the training pool. Photo: Steve Christo
While nothing has been confirmed by either camp, the pair looked flirty in the water together, stopping to chat and laugh at the end of a lap, definitely making what is normally an arduous task of training appear far more pleasant.
Evans finished her set, dried and changed, then sat where the Australian squad had left their gear. Moments later, Lochte emerged from the water and came over to the 21-year-old West Australian, sat beside her and chatted for several minutes as onlookers gave inquisitive stares.
Lochte left and the shutter of cameras ceased, but after changing the American returned and he and Evans left the pool together.
Australia's Blair Evans (left) and America's Ryan Lochte leave the pooldeck together. Photo: Steve Christo
They may have been flirty at times, but they certainly didn't walk out hand in hand, nor were they trying to be secretive about anything, and in a sport where swimmers are always friendly towards each other regardless of rivalries, they may simply be good friends who have met at some other event in the past. But in the lead-up to an Olympics, any potential cross-nation canoodling can be a major story.
And Lochte fuelled the story with a quote in the British media this week. ''My last Olympics, I had a girlfriend - big mistake,'' he told The Guardian. ''Now I'm single, so London should be really good.''
The conspiracy theorists are also coming out with their take on it. Perhaps Evans could be a plant from Phelps. Lochte has the potential to steal the limelight from Phelps in London. Maybe Evans is the distraction Phelps needs to beat Lochte in the 200-metre and 400-metre individual medleys.