Phelps beats Lochte in 200 IM

Michael Phelps led after each touch and beat Ryan Lochte to win the men's 200-meter individual medley Thursday night.

The U.S. teammates' second head-to-head race at the London Olympics didn't disappoint.

Phelps became the first male swimmer to win the same Olympic race three times in a row, touching in 1 minute, 54.27 seconds to beat Lochte by .63 ticks with Hungary's Laszlo Cseh third.

Lochte, the world record holder in the 200 IM, took bronze about a half hour earlier behind U.S. teammate Tyler Clary in the 200 backstroke.

Phelps won his 20th medal and 16th gold, extending both Olympic records. He had finished fourth in the 400 IM Saturday night, the race Lochte won in their first race against each other here.

The U.S. had won all three gold medals awarded so far on Day 6 at the Aquatics Centre.

Earlier, American Rebecca Soni was the first swimmer to defend their Olympic title here when she broke her own world record to win the women's 200-meter breaststroke.

Clary, the U.S. teammate critical of Phelps' training, won the 200 back after overtaking the defending Olympic champion Lochte in the last 50 meters.

Clary broke his teammate's Olympic record with a time of 1 minute, 53.41 seconds -- .37 seconds ahead of silver medal winner Ryosuke Irie of Japan while Lochte faded to third, .53 seconds back of Clary.

Soni broke the world record she set in the semifinals Wednesday night by just .41 seconds, touching the wall in 2:19.59. Japan's Satomi Suzuki was second and Russia's Iuliia Efimova won bronze. American Micah Lawrence finished sixth.

In semifinals for the men's 50-meter freestyle, world record holder and defending Olympic champion Cesar Cielo of Brazil and American Cullen Jones tied for the fastest time at 21.54 seconds.

American Anthony Ervin, the 2000 Olympic champion who sold his gold medal to aid victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami and came out of retirement after nine years to give the Olympics another try, qualified third fastest.

American teammates Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Franklin qualified 1-2 for the final of the women's 200 back while Canadian Sinead Russell got the eighth spot.

Franklin, already with three medals here, was going for the gold later in the women's 100 free.

The last American women to win the event were Carolyn Steinseifer and Nancy Lynn Hogshead, who tied for the gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Nathan Adrian won the men's 100 free Wednesday night, the first American of either gender since Matt Biondi in 1988 to win at the distance.

1984 was the last year the U.S. swept the distance. Rowdy Gaines won it for the men.