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Olympic trials: Ryan Lochte bests Michael Phelps

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NBC has begun its eight nights of U.S. Olympic swimming trials in primetime. The big news: Ryan Lochte bested Michael Phelps in the 400m IM, but Phelps still became the first U.S. male swimmer to earn his ticket to a fourth Olympics. Here’s how we called it.

Worst camera shot outside the pool: When NBC cut away from Phelps after his introduction right as he was finally taking off his track jacket. Second worst shot: The angle they chose when they cut back to him — his torso was obstructed by a flag.

Best camera shot outside the pool: When NBC made up for the above by giving us a stellar view of Phelps’ back. Runner-up: The shot of two GIANT Dana Vollmer faces floating in the crowd as she easily breezed through her 100m butterfly semifinal.

Best dancing: The footage of 17-year-old Missy Franklin doing the worm at a pep rally/sendoff her Colorado high school gave her in May.

Worst dancing: Phelps tiptoeing around the question of how it felt to lose to Lochte, and Lochte assuring NBC that he still feels like the hunter as opposed to the one being hunted.

Best sound: You, yelling at the TV, which you realized you probably haven’t done for swimming since the 2008 Olympics. (First time for you during the trials? I got rather vocal during the men’s 3M springboard diving final over the weekend.) Honorable mention: My colleague Sandra Gonzalez saying “Hey now” as she traced 400m freestyle runner-up Conor Dwyer’s cut lines on the TV in her office. Noteworthy: I enjoyed when Rowdy Gaines referred to 400m freestyle champ Peter Vanderkaay as “such a big boy.”

Worst sound: Whatever music was playing in that sports facility at any given second.

Best commercial: That one for “Olympic Games edition” CoverGirl mascara featuring boxer Marlen Esparza.

Worst commercial: That BMW one featuring decathlete Bryan Clay, who hoped to win his third Olympic medal in London but won’t be making the trip after all. It makes me sad every time.

Best of the broadcast: Just how genuinely happy Elizabeth Beisel and Caitlin Leverenz were with each other after finishing one-two in the women’s 400m IM and decimating the rest of the field. They couldn’t stop hugging.

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