Ryan Lochte appreciated the cheers from the bare-chested guy soaking up some rays on the scorching side of the Foro Italico.
He would have preferred Michael Phelps in the next lane.
Lochte, a former University of Florida standout, erased Phelps' world record in the 200-meter individual medley Thursday, but it felt a bit empty with the former record-holder in the stands.
"It feels good to do that," said Lochte, whose time of 1 minute, 54.10 seconds beat the mark Phelps set in Beijing (1:54.23).
But Lochte isn't looking for a handout after Phelps dropped the 200 and 400 IM from his program, leaving them to other talented swimmers.
"Ryan always showed up, to every major race, he really did," said Phelps' coach Bob Bowman, also in charge of the U.S. men's team. "To his credit, he never gave up. He has had faith that he could break those records and that he could beat Michael, and I'm sure one day in a head-to-head battle that's going to happen.
"They're great competitors and friends, and that's the way it should be."
Lochte stuck with Speedo's LZR Racer suit, even though polyurethane suits made by Arena and Jaked are generally considered faster. It didn't hurt him a bit.
"I love it. I love a challenge," Lochte said. "Everyone is complaining about all these new suits, blah, blah, blah, and I go out there and wear the same suit that's been out there and I just give it to them."
The other swimmers who set world records Thursday: Brazil's Cesar Cielo (men's 100 free, 46.91), Australia's Christian Sprenger (men's 200 breast, 2:07.31), Australia's Jess Schipper (women's 200 fly, 2:03.41), Canada's Annamay Pierse (women's 200 breast, 2:20.12), China's Zhao Jing (women's 50 back, 27.06) and the Chinese women (800 free relay, 7:42.08).