Lochte, who at 36 is a year older than Phelps, was seventh in the 200m individual medley at the Olympic trials in Omaha on Friday night. He was not expected to be part of the Olympic team, which necessitated a place in the top two. Michel André and Chase Kalisz go to Tokyo.
“I kind of let everyone down,” said Lochte, who received a hug from Phelps on the pool deck. “This is not the end of the road. There is a lot more that I want to accomplish in the sport of swimming whether it be in the pool or outside the pool which makes swimming bigger.
“I still want to run, but as for other Olympic trials, I don’t know about that. I will be 40 years old. It grows, but we’ll see. I mean anything can happen. I can take years off and come back and be stronger than ever, who knows. “
In the other finals on Friday, the training partners Annie Lazor and King Lily earned a brace in the women’s 200 breaststroke. Two months ago Lazor’s father passed away and Olympic 100m breast champion King drove five hours to the tour. She promised Lazor’s mother that she would do everything possible to bring Lazor to Tokyo.
At 26, Lazor, who quit the sport for a year after missing the 2016 Olympics, is the oldest American Olympic swimmer rookie in the pool in 17 years. More on its history here.
Rio Olympian Abbaye de Weitzeil and Erika Brown were the top two in the women’s 100 freestyle. Olympic and world champion Simone Manuel failed to advance to Thursday’s semi-finals.
Olympic champion Ryan Murphy and Bryce Mefford, another pair of training partners, scored a brace in the men’s 200 backstroke.
SWIMMING TRIALS: Results | TV programs | Previews of women’s events | Previews of men’s events
Lochte, who ten years ago was among the best in the world in a handful of events, has become a 200m IM specialist in the turbulent last years of a 17-year career on the main stages of swimming.
He holds 12 Olympic medals, tied for second in sports history. The idea that has prevailed for several years is that if 28-time medalist Phelps had practiced lacrosse instead, Lochte would become the greatest swimmer in history.
“I love this sport,” Lochte said. “It brought me to places people dream of. “
33 years ago, 3-year-old Lochte was playing on an icy pool deck at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, and fell into it. His father, a swimming coach, rescued him. The story goes that Lochte laughed, did not cry. It became a starting point for Lochte’s relationship with swimming.
The family moved to the Daytona Beach area. Lochte made his first Olympic team after his sophomore year at the University of Florida, finishing second in the Olympic 200m IM trials against Phelps. The first of many Baltimore Bullet finalists.
But unlike all other international swimmers, Lochte always got the better of Phelps for a stretch.
After Lochte won his first individual Olympic title in 2008 – in the 200 backstroke, not a Phelps event – Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, admitted in 2010 that Lochte had ripped off the coat of the best swimmer in the world. Lochte held it during the early days of the 2012 Olympics, and again during Phelps’ first retirement in 2013.
In November 2013, around the time Phelps started training for his comeback, Lochte had an argument with a teenage fan in Gainesville. She ran towards him, he tried to catch up with her, they both fell and Lochte hit his knee on a sidewalk, tearing an MCL and spraining his ACL on his left knee.
It was the most publicized of Lochte’s litany of strange injuries – also a concussion from a fall from a tree while playing manhunt (high school), a broken right foot at 47 feet after losing control of his scooter (2007) a torn meniscus break dancing (2009).
Lochte still managed to win a fifth consecutive world title in the 200m IM in 2015. He entered the 2016 Olympic trials with a groin injury and clinched a second place in the 200m IM and earned a place in the 4 × 200 m free relay. .
Until then, Lochte was known as a clumsy, but largely harmless reveler. Everything changed on that early morning in August 2016 in Rio. Lochte lied about being robbed at gunpoint and was ultimately suspended for 10 months, losing all of his sponsors.
He returned in 2017, but in 2018 Lochte was suspended for another 14 months for a social media error. Lochte posted a photo of him receiving an intravenous drip of an illegal amount of a legal substance. Although banned, he underwent a six-week drug rehab for alcohol addiction. He also tore his hamstrings during a weight room sprint.
“You could say Ryan didn’t always make all the best choices,” said Gregg Troie, coach of Lochte in Gainesville from 2002 to 2013, then again since 2018, “but he learned from these choices”.
Lochte came back from it all in 2019 to record the country’s fourth fastest time in the 200m IM, swimming 30 pounds overweight. He was a candidate for the Olympic team in 2020, but the postponement was a disappointment.
Outside of swimming, Lochte is known for an unfortunate reality TV show and for being staged by “Dancing with the Stars” critics.
But he is also a married father of two children, whose children are definitely Lochtes (4 year old son caiden paintings on the walls of the house; 2 year old girl Life was holding a credit card when he kissed her after Thursday night’s semifinals).
“Swimming is, I guess, my second job now,” Lochte said. “Swimming is just the icing on the cake. “
And he’s an empathetic person. Lochte will never forget attending the 1992 Olympic trials at the age of 7 and being denied an autograph by an Olympic swimmer in an elevator (Lochte politely declined to name the swimmer, according to Illustrated sports.)
For years, Lochte has been known to stick around for hours signing autographs and taking photos at national meetings or clinics. He gives running medals to children.
In the late 2000s, Lochte was moved after hearing about a 12-year-old swimmer who drowned in a freak accident. He befriended the swimmer’s younger sister, exchanging texts, phone calls and a happy birthday three years later (also via SI).
Then there is this story that we relayed three years ago:
On March 9, 2018, Lochte drove 20 minutes of a small South Florida swim competition in Parkland. He had asked high school swimming and water polo coaches Marjory Stoneman Douglas if he could meet with the boys and girls teams, three weeks after 17 people were killed in a school shooting.
Lochte learned Nicolas Dworet, one of the 14 students killed, who had been captain of the swim team. Lochte met Dworet’s parents and saw a piece of paper. Dworet had written a goal to make the 2020 Olympic squad for Sweden. Lochte then decided to dedicate his own 2020 Olympic swims to Dworet, if he defied conventions and qualified for a fifth edition of the Games.
Every day, Lochte wakes up in Gainesville, bringing back memories of his best swim and reminders of how much his life has changed since he previously called him home. Lochte comes out of his house to swim on campus. He puts on a Marjory Stoneman Douglas swim team cap that he puts on to see every day.
Ahead of the trials, Lochte defined success this week as not only for making the Olympic team, but also for winning a medal in Tokyo.
“Just being here and giving it one more shot, I feel like it’s also success,” he added. “Outside the pool, I am successful. I mean, I have great sponsors. I have a family now which is the best thing. So for me I win.
Finally Friday, the young swimmers, including the backstroke Ryan Murphy and Andrew, spoke about the impact Lochte had on their careers.
“It means a lot,” Lochte said, becoming moved. “Probably more than winning a gold medal. “
OlympicTalk is enabled Apple News. Promote us!