Reason to Become a Better Man
Sure, Ryan Lochte has garnered 12 Olympic medals, 62 world-championship medals, and multiple world records – yet, according to the 34-year-old swimmer, his life can be summarized in just one word: family. He credits his wife and son (and daughter on the way) for changing his life for the better. Having had a reputation in the media as a nonchalant party boy, Lochte is currently only focused on two things: his family and making his fifth Olympic Games appearance at Tokyo 2020. “Preparing for the Olympics is a four-year process,” he says. “You have to swim every day so that you can improve your time by just one second. Taking one day off can set you back weeks.”
He got his start as a young swimmer under his mother’s tutelage as she was his first swimming coach. “I just loved being in the water, loved being in the pool,” he recalls. A childhood passion would soon prove more fruitful. At 12 years old, his family moved from Rochester, New York to Florida, and his father transitioned into his coach. From there, he had continued success into high school and then college where he was a two-time NCAA swimmer of the year at the University of Florida – and has gone on to successfully represent the United States in Olympic Games.
Lochte is tied for second among American athletes with 12 total Olympic medals, placing behind his friend and teammate Michael Phelps who sets the pace as the most decorated Olympian in history with 28 total medals. “Michael and I are great friends. We root for each other,” Lochte says of their perceived rivalry. “I’m just happy to represent the United States and help us win medals. I know I’m the old guy among the group now, and I want to be able to help the young guys and just have fun with the process.”
However, success has not been without drawbacks for Lochte. He was involved in controversy at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro for possibly making false claims of an attack during a night out on the town, resulting in a 10-month suspension. He was also suspended 14 months last year when he posted a photo on Instagram of himself receiving an intravenous infusion. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency launched an investigation, and while they did not find that he was injecting himself with any banned substances, the problem was the amount of fluid that he received as the USADA does not allow athletes to receive intravenous infusions of more than 100 ml in a 12-hour period unless they have a special exemption. “I don’t want to take any of my mistakes back. Every mistake has helped me grow as a person, and I’ve learned from them,” says Lochte who diligently continues his preparations for what he knows might be his last competitive tournament.
While he is uncertain about his career plans after the next Olympics, Lochte wants to give back to the sport he loves. He is a spokesperson for the Mac Crutchfield Foundation whose mission is to prevent drowning through education and to provide swim lessons to residents in communities in need.
Writer: Alain Clerine
Photographer & Videographer: Sylvain Denis
Stylist: Juelle Alexandra
Men’s Grooming: Natasha Katrina (using Dior & Kenra Professional)
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach (@sonestafortlauderdale - www.sonesta.com/us/florida/fort-lauderdale/sonesta-fort-lauderdale-beach) & PDQ (@pdqfreshfood - www.eatpdq.com)