Just as he did yesterday as anchor of the 400-meter freestyle relay, Lochte failed to bring it today in the 200-meter freestyle against Frenchman Yannick Agnel, who edged the Vogue cover boy in both races.
And there wasn't any cause for grill controversy today, because the fatigued-looking Lochte missed the podium entirely.
"I did my best," Lochte told reporters afterward. "I guess sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I gave it 110 percent. There's probably some things I messed up on, but you live and learn. [Agnel's] a great racer. There's no doubt about it. He's quick and he showed it last night and tonight. I'm happy for him. He did good."
But there's obviously a good reason why video of the U.S. relay team's victory in Beijing still has way more hits than anything the men have done this year, minus Lochte showing off his closet and explaining what a grill is.
Lochte, who reportedly wouldn't even have had one gold in his possession if he had persisted in wearing his grill on the podium the other day, has three more events with which to redeem himself, er, compete in, including Tuesday's 4x200-meter relay .
Phelps, meanwhile, won his heat and qualified for Tuesday's 200-meter butterfly finals, one of the four races still on his plate—which is somewhat tarnished for lack of gold so far.
The American frivals (friends and rivals, get it?) still have to qualify for their next possible head-to-head, which would be Thursday's 200-meter individual medley.
Here's what else went down around the Olympic complex on Monday:
Biggest Bummer: Sitting out the Olympic glory today with Lochte was the entire U.S. men's gymnastics team, which ranked first in the qualifying round but ended up in fifth place tonight. "It just didn't go as planned," said gymnast John Orozco, who muffed both the pommel horse (perhaps the most score-draining apparatus of all) and his vault. "I don't really know what happened." China won team gold, Japan silver and Great Britain bronze. Wait, what?!
Most Dramatic Vault: The Japanese men's gymnastics team successfully appealed its fourth-place finish and ended up in second place, knocking Great Britain from silver to bronze and original bronze winner Ukraine off the podium entirely.
Royal Reception: Prince Harry and Prince William took in the men's gymnastics final and were there to applaud for Great Britain's best team finish in 100 years. But first, they looked very concerned.
Most Inspiring Number: 17, the number of medals won so far by the U.S., which is now tied with China for most medals in London so far. Japan is a ways back with 11, and Italy is up to eight.
Golden Girl: Missy Franklin, 17 (see?!), won her first individual medal—and it was a gold one!—in the 200-meter backstroke. Before the Olympics began, the high school senior from Aurora, Colo., dedicated all of her races to the folks back home still reeling from the July 20 shooting at a local movie theater.
Splash on the Side: Providing punch for the U.S. men's swim team in Lochte and Phelps' figurative and literal absence were Matt Grevers and Nick Thoman, who finished first and second in the 100-meter backstroke.
As Per Usual: Roger Federer and Venus and Serena Williams won singles matches in straight sets over on the Wimbledon grass in quick succession. Andy Roddick, who's been struggling on the ATP tour, donned stars-and-stripes-printed trainers and won in straight sets.
Brewing Controversy: Tongues are starting to wag (without anything to go on besides jadedness, mind you) about 16-year-old Ye Shiwen, the Chinese swimmer who hammered the world record in winning the women's 400-meter individual medley, in which she swam the final 25 meters faster than the men's champ, Ryan Lochte. "Impossible," a U.S. official said, according to the L.A. Times, while the New York Times quotes a number of Ye's fellow swimmers calling her feat "pretty unbelievable," "interesting" and "insane."