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And so, the quest begins ...

Updated: June 26, 2012, 10:42 AM ET
By Wayne Drehs | ESPN.com

OMAHA, Neb. -- There were spotlights. Shooting flames. Introductory music by Jay-Z. And more than 11,000 standing, screaming fans. And this was just Round 1.

The question was never whether or not Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte would make the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. If for some reason it didn't happen tonight, it would happen tomorrow or the next day or the next. No, this was the opening round in a summer-long quest to determine who exactly is the greatest male swimmer in the world.

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