BOCA RATON, Fla. - It's a dynamic that few can fathom. What was like for Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte to compete against each other in the pool Thursday. They are team mates who turned into competitors.
Two Boca Raton High School swimmers may have an idea.
For the last decade you can find Jason McCormick and Kevin Matheus side by side, swimming.
"I used to beat him in the sprint events and he used to beat me in the IM, now it's opposite," says Matheus.
Since they were four years old, they've been best friends, and fierce competitors. It's not always smooth sailing.
"We spend so much time practicing together it's almost impossible not to be like brothers and sisters and not argue or bicker." says McCormick.
But that's few and far between for these athletes. Their friendship improves their skill.
"I've always used it as a tool to train harder," says McCormick.
That's how it must be for Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, on the same team, but also going head to head for the gold. A seasoned Olympic champion up against the competitor expected to replace him.
McCormick and Matheus have their own favorites.
"I like Phelps more," says McCormick.
"I have to say Lochte. he's the underdog," says Matheus.
Matheus adds that's because he's often considered the underdog.
"He's got a hand on me, he's got the longer reach," says Matheus.
And if they were competing on the Olympic stage and lost to the other?
"I'd be happy for him, he deserves it," says Matheus.
"It'd be tough, but I'd rather lose to him than some other person I don't know," says McCormick.
The duo will likely be competing together for years to come. After their senior year at Boca Raton High School, they both plan to go out for the swim team at Florida State University.