Ryan Steven Lochte (/ˈlɒkti/, LOCK-tee; born August 3, 1984) is an American competitive swimmer, a 12-time Olympic medalist (six gold, three silver, three bronze), which ranks him second in swimming behind Michael Phelps. His seven individual Olympic medals rank near the top in men's swimming. As part of the American teams, he holds the world record in the 4×200-meter freestyle (long course) and 4x100-meter freestyle (mixed) relay. Individually, he currently holds the world record in the 200-meter individual medley (long and short course) and 400-meter individual medley (short course).
Lochte's success has earned him SwimSwam's Swammy Award for Male Swimmer of the Year in 2013, the World Swimmer of the Year Award and the American Swimmer of the Year Award twice. He has also been named the FINA Swimmer of the Year three times. He has won a total of 90 medals in major international competition, 54 gold, 22 silver, and 14 bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, Pan American, and Pan Pacific Championships.
Lochte specializes in the backstroke and individual medley, but is also a freestyle and butterfly swimmer. He is noted for the speed and distance he attains while kicking underwater. Lochte is also known for his dominance in the short course format (25-yard and 25-meter-long swimming pools).
Lochte swam the 100m individual medley in 50.71 seconds on December 15, 2012 at the FINA World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. At this same event, he is also credited with swimming the fastest 200m medley, leading him to finish in 1 minute 49.63 seconds.
In 2016, Lochte generated international controversy when he falsely claimed that he and three other American swimmers had been pulled over and robbed by armed robbers with police badges while in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Lochte was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Ileana "Ike" (née Aramburu) and Steven R. Lochte. His mother is Cuban and was born and raised in Havana, while his father is of Dutch, English, and German descent. He has two older sisters, Kristin and Megan, and two younger brothers, Devon and Brandon. During his early childhood, his family lived in Bristol, New York where he attended Bloomfield Central Schools. The family moved to Florida when Ryan was 12 so his father could coach swimming.
Lochte was taught to swim at the age of five by both of his parents. He was often kicked out of his father's swimming classes for misbehaving, which often included pulling other children's legs, blowing bubbles, and hiding at the other end of the pool. Lochte only began taking swimming seriously when he was in junior high school. His father said, "I would send him to go shower when he was messing around. He spent more time in the showers than he did in the pool." At 14 years old, his loss at the Junior Olympics changed his attitude. He later commented: "I suddenly said, 'I'm sick of losing'. After that I trained hard and I never lost there again."
Lochte attended the University of Florida and graduated in 2007, majoring in sport management. As a member of the Florida Gators swimming and diving team, he swam for coach Gregg Troy in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Southeastern Conference (SEC) competition from 2004 to 2007. At Florida, Lochte was the NCAA Swimmer of the Year twice, a seven-time NCAA champion, a seven-time SEC champion, and a 24-time All-American. At the 2006 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, during his senior year, Lochte won national titles in all three of his individual events, setting U.S. Open and American records in the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke. He also broke Tom Dolan's nearly decade-old NCAA record in the 400-yard individual medley.
Lochte qualified for his first Olympics after finishing second to Michael Phelps in the 200-meter individual medley at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. He also qualified for the 4×200-meter freestyle relay team after finishing 4th in the 200-meter freestyle final. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, Lochte swam with Phelps, Klete Keller, and Peter Vanderkaay to upset the Australian team and capture the gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. It was the first loss for the Australian team in six years. He also narrowly edged out George Bovell and László Cseh in the 200-meter individual medley to win the silver medal behind Phelps.
Later that year at the 2004 FINA Short Course World Championships in Indianapolis, Lochte won the silver medal in the 200-meter individual medley and the bronze in the 200-meter freestyle. He also won the gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay with Chad Carvin, Dan Ketchum, and Justin Mortimer.
At the 2005 World Aquatics Championships in Montreal, Lochte won the bronze medals in both the 200-meter backstroke and 200-meter individual medley. In the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Lochte teamed with Phelps, Vanderkaay, and Keller to win gold ahead of Canada and Australia.
At the 2006 FINA Short Course World Championships in Shanghai, held just two weeks after the 2006 NCAA Championships, Lochte won three individual titles, one silver, and one bronze. He won the 200-meter individual medley and the 200-meter backstroke, setting new world records in both events. He also set another world record in the 100-meter backstroke in the opening leg of the 4×100-meter medley relay, becoming the first man to complete the distance in under 50 seconds. He won his third gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley, setting a new championship record.
At the 2007 World Aquatics Championships in Melbourne, Australia, Lochte won his first individual gold medal at a long course world championship in the 200-meter backstroke against compatriot Aaron Peirsol, breaking Peirsol's world record and his seven-year winning streak in the event. This was Lochte's first world record in a long course event. A little more than 90 minutes later, Lochte went on to set a world record in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay with Phelps, Keller, and Vanderkaay. He also won silver medals in the 100-meter backstroke, the 200-meter individual medley, and the 400-meter individual medley, making his medal total for the meet second only to Phelps.
Within a week of the world championships, Lochte competed in the annual Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool where he again beat Peirsol. In the 100-meter backstroke, he broke Peirsol's other seven-year winning streak in the shorter of the backstroke races, edging out Peirsol by 0.06 seconds.
2008 Summer Olympics
At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, Lochte competed in six individual events and qualified to swim in three individual events at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Also, with his third-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle, Lochte was ensured a spot on the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. In his first event, Lochte finished second to Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley. Both Lochte and Phelps finished below Phelps' previous world record in the event. In his second event, the 200-meter freestyle, Lochte finished in third place behind Phelps and Vanderkaay. Less than 30 minutes after the 200-meter freestyle final, Lochte then competed in the 100-meter backstroke final, finishing in third place behind Aaron Peirsol and Matt Grevers. The next day, Lochte competed in the 100-meter freestyle but withdrew after the semifinals. Two days later, in the 200-meter backstroke, Lochte finished in second place behind Peirsol, who equalled Lochte's world record. Less than 30 minutes after the 200-meter backstroke final, Lochte finished second to Phelps in the 200-meter individual medley.
In his first event at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Lochte won the bronze medal in the 400-meter individual medley behind Phelps and Cseh. His time of 4:08.09 was two seconds slower than the time he swam in Omaha. In his second event, Lochte swam the second leg of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. With Phelps, Ricky Berens, and Vanderkaay, he won his first gold medal and set his first world record as the American team finished first with a time of 6:58.56. The Americans were the first team to break the seven-minute mark in the relay, and broke the previous record, set in Melbourne, Australia, by more than four and a half seconds. In his third event, the 200-meter backstroke, Lochte won his first individual gold medal and set the world record, beating defending champion Peirsol. Twenty-seven minutes after the final of the 200-meter backstroke, Lochte went on to win the bronze in the 200-meter individual medley, finishing behind Phelps and Cseh.
2009 World Championships
At the 2009 National Championships, the selection meet for the 2009 World Aquatics Championships, Lochte won individual titles in the 200 and 400-meter individual medley. Lochte also qualified to swim in the 4×100 and 4×200-meter freestyle relay. In the 200-meter backstroke final, Lochte placed second behind Aaron Peirsol, and lost his world record he set in Beijing when Peirsol recorded a time of 1:53.08.
In his first event at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships in Rome, Lochte swam the second leg of the men's 4×100-meter freestyle relay in a time of 47.03. He earned a gold medal in the event along with Phelps, Matt Grevers, and Nathan Adrian. The final time of 3:09.21 was a championship record and just ahead of Russia (3:09.52) and France (3:09.89). With Phelps not competing in the 200 or 400-meter individual medley at these championships, Lochte won the gold in both events. In the 200-meter individual medley, Lochte broke Phelps' world record of 1:54.23 with a time of 1:54.10. In the 200-meter backstroke, Lochte won the bronze medal, finishing behind Peirsol and Ryosuke Irie of Japan. In the 4×200-meter freestyle relay final, Lochte swam the anchor leg in 1:44.46. Combined with Phelps, Berens, and David Walters, Lochte won the gold medal and his team broke the previous world record by one-hundredth of a second with a time of 6:58.55.
At the 2010 National Championships, the selection meet for the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and the 2011 World Aquatics Championships, Lochte won individual titles in the 200-meter backstroke, 200-meter individual medley, and the 400-meter individual medley. He also placed second in the 100 and 200-meter freestyle. Lochte's win in the 200-meter individual medley was the first time he defeated Phelps in a major national or international meet.
At the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Irvine, California, Lochte won a total of six gold medals. His wins included the 200-meter backstroke, 200-meter freestyle, the 200 and 400-meter individual medley, and the 4×100 and 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
At the 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships in Dubai, Lochte became the first individual in history to win seven medals at the Short Course Worlds and was the only person to set a world record individually since body-length swimsuits were banned. In Dubai, Lochte won gold in the 200-meter backstroke, 200-meter freestyle, all the individual medleys (100, 200, 400), and the 4×100-meter medley relay. He also won silver in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Lochte's world records in Dubai came on consecutive days, first in the 400-meter individual medley, then in the 200-meter individual medley. Both world records were broken by considerable margins.
At year's end, Lochte was named the World Swimmer of the Year and American Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine. He was also named FINA male swimmer of the year for 2010 by FINA Aquatics World Magazine. 2010 saw Lochte win a total of 13 international medals, 12 of them gold.
2011 World Championships
At the 2011 World Aquatics Championships, Lochte won a total of six medals, five golds and one bronze. Lochte won his first medal, a bronze, in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay for his contributions in the heats. In the heats, Lochte recorded a time of 48.28, off from the 47.98 he recorded last year in Irvine. In his second event, the 200-meter freestyle, Lochte won the gold with a time of 1:44.44, finishing ahead of Michael Phelps who recorded a time of 1:44.79. It was Lochte's first gold in the event in the long course World Championships. Lochte won the 200-meter individual medley event in a world record time of 1:54.00, finishing ahead of Michael Phelps time of 1:54.16. In the 200-meter backstroke, Lochte dominated the competition with a time of 1:52.96, over a second ahead of second-place finisher Ryosuke Irie. Shortly after completing the 200-meter backstroke, Lochte competed in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay with Michael Phelps, Peter Vanderkaay, and Ricky Berens. Swimming the anchor leg in 1:44.56, Lochte was able to make up a deficit from France for the win. The final time for the relay was 7:02.67. In his last event, the 400-meter individual medley, Lochte continued his dominance with a win in a time of 4:07.13. His closest competitor, Tyler Clary, finished in 4:11.17, over four seconds behind.
Lochte said he was pleased with his performance at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships but feels that he can improve his times before the 2012 Olympics. "Getting five gold medals is definitely great, but the times that I went, I know I could go a lot faster," he said. "There are a lot of places in my races that I messed up on that I could have changed and gone faster, but I guess I have a whole year to make sure I have those perfect swims."
At year's end, Lochte was named the World Swimmer of the Year and American Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine, and defended his titles from 2010. He was also named FINA male swimmer of the year for 2011 by FINA Aquatics World Magazine and also defended this title.
2012 Summer Olympics
At the 2012 United States Olympic Trials, the qualifying meet for the 2012 Summer Olympics, Lochte qualified for the Olympic team by finishing first in the 200-meter backstroke and 400-meter individual medley, and second in the 200-meter freestyle and 200-meter individual medley. Lochte also narrowly missed a spot competing in the individual 100-meter butterfly by finishing third.
At the Olympics in London, Lochte won his first gold medal of the games in the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4:05.18. Commenting on his first medal of the 2012 Olympics and the head-to-head competition with fellow American and world record holder, Michael Phelps, Lochte acknowledged Phelps' greatness while positioning himself as the best today.
Lochte won a silver medal with the U.S. 4×100-meter freestyle relay team, losing out to the French team with a 47.74 split, a full second slower than the French finishing swimmer Yannick Agnel and six tenths of a second slower than teammate Phelps.
Lochte placed fourth in the 200-meter freestyle race. He followed that performance, however, by winning gold with the U.S. 4×200-meter freestyle team. Lochte swam the first split and provided the U.S. team a commanding lead which never relinquished.
On the sixth night of the Games, Lochte swam his last two finals, with only 30 minutes in between. First, he won the bronze medal in the 200m backstroke, finishing behind compatriot Tyler Clary and Japan's Ryosuke Irie. His time of 1.53.94 tied the time he swam four years ago when he won the gold medal at the 2008 Games, which was then a world record. Half an hour later, Lochte took on Phelps in the 200m individual medley. He won a silver medal behind Phelps in what was thought at the time to be the last head-to-head race of their careers, as Phelps retired after the Games. This was the third consecutive Olympics in which Lochte won a medal in the 200m individual medley.
His five medals brought his total to 11 Olympic medals, tied for second among male swimmers with compatriots Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi, behind only Phelps. His seven individual Olympic medals are the second-most in men's Olympic swimming, surpassing Zoltán Halmay and Mark Spitz, who won six.
Lochte has announced he intends to continue swimming through the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He is also considering exploring new events.
2013 World Championships
In his first event at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, Lochte combined with Nathan Adrian, Anthony Ervin, and Jimmy Feigen in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, with the team finishing behind France. Swimming the second leg, Lochte recorded a split of 47.80, and the team finished with a final time of 3:11.44. In his first individual event, the 200-meter freestyle, Lochte was unsuccessful in defending his title and placed fourth in the final with a time of 1:45.64. Lochte won his first individual medal of the competition, a gold, by defending his title in the 200-meter individual medley, recording a time of 1:54.98. The day following his 200 medley gold, Lochte also defended his title in the 200-meter backstroke, recording a time of 1:53.79 in the final. On the same day of winning the 200-meter backstroke (and swimming in the 100-meter butterfly semifinals where he set a personal best and qualified for the final), Lochte combined with Conor Dwyer, Charlie Houchin, and Ricky Berens, to win the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Swimming the second leg, Lochte recorded a split of 1:44.98, and the team finished with a final time of 7:01.72. In winning the 4×200 relay, Lochte became the first swimmer to win 5 consecutive gold medals at the World Championships in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay (while also being the first swimmer, along with compatriot Michael Phelps, to win the 4×200-meter freestyle relay Olympic Gold Medal on 3 successive occasions).
The following day, Lochte competed in the 100-meter butterfly and finished 6th in the final with a time of 51.58, just off his semifinal time of 51.48.
2015 World Championships
Lochte competed in his sixth World Championships in Kazan in 2015. He made history upon his win in the 200-meter individual medley by becoming the only person other than Grant Hackett to successfully win an event in four consecutive world championships. However, he finished a disappointing fourth in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:45.83, just off the podium. In addition, Lochte also won three relay medals. Lochte led off the 4×200-meter freestyle relay in 1:45.71, but the US team could not hold on as Great Britain pulled off a great upset and beat the US team 7:04.33 to 7:04.75. Alongside Nathan Adrian, Simone Manuel, and Missy Franklin, he was also part of the winning and world record-breaking 4×100-meter mixed freestyle relay. Lochte also anchored the prelim team for the 4×100-meter medley relay and received a gold medal for his efforts since the finals team won.
2016 Summer Olympics
At the 2016 United States Olympic Trials, the U.S. qualifying meet for the Rio Olympics, Lochte finished third in the 400-meter individual medley, just missing out on an Olympic berth. In the 200-meter freestyle, he missed his second chance at making the team in an individual event by placing fourth; nonetheless, he earned a relay spot in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Lochte finally qualified for an individual event by finishing second in the 200-meter individual medley behind Phelps.
Lochte's first event in Rio was the 4×200 meter freestyle relay, where he swam both the morning heats and the finals. In the finals, Lochte swam the third leg after Conor Dwyer and Townley Haas. After Lochte's leg, the U.S. had a commanding lead. Phelps anchored the relay to touch the wall first at 7:00.66. This brought Lochte's Olympic medal count up to 12 total, making him the second most decorated male Olympic swimmer of all time, second only to Phelps.
Lochte finished in 5th place in the 200-meter individual medley. This was his 4th consecutive final in the event, and the first time he did not win a medal.
On the morning of August 14, 2016, Lochte and Jimmy Feigen said that they and teammates Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were robbed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the 2016 Summer Olympics after men forced them out of their taxi at gunpoint in the early morning hours. After surveillance video and a police report emerged that confirmed a security guard had brandished a gun after one or more of the athletes vandalized the gas station bathroom, Lochte stated in an interview that he had been drunk and that he "over-exaggerated that story". However his amended story raised concerns about the facts, and soon it emerged that Lochte's taxi had not in fact been stopped by armed men, but that the swimmers had stopped to use the fuel station's bathroom which Lochte was accused of vandalizing. He initially claimed that money taken from him, but it was later clarified the money was offered as repayment for the alleged vandalism.
In August 2016, Lochte was charged with providing a false claim of a robbery during the 2016 Olympic Games, and if convicted could be jailed up to 18 months. On August 30, 2016, when appearing on Good Morning America, he said that he was unsure if he would claim the incident, which fulfills the requirements of "armed robbery" under Brazilian law, as a robbery saying "I don't know if I would consider it as a robbery, or extortion, or us just paying up for the poster being ripped."
He was suspended from swimming for 10 months but said the suspension made him stronger.
Television appearances and pop culture fame
Before the 2012 Summer Olympics, Fortune magazine estimated that Lochte earned $2.3 million from endorsement deals with Speedo, Mutual of Omaha, Gillette, Gatorade, Procter and Gamble, Ralph Lauren, Nissan, and AT&T. Lochte has also appeared in commercials for the Nissan Altima and been featured on the covers of Vogue, Time, Men's Health, and Men's Journal.
National Public Radio named Lochte as their "platonic ideal of bro-dom".
Comedian and talk show host Seth MacFarlane parodied Lochte in the 2012 season premiere of Saturday Night Live, after which Lochte said he would be open to doing a cameo appearance on the show.
Lochte appeared as an exaggerated version of himself in the 30 Rock episode "Stride of Pride," which aired October 18, 2012. He also had a guest appearance on 90210 in late 2012.
What Would Ryan Lochte Do? began airing April 21, 2013, on E! and was cancelled after only one season, five weeks later. Lochte's public persona and character have inspired a series of unflattering internet memes.
On August 30, 2016, Lochte was announced as one of the celebrities who would compete on season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. He was partnered with professional dancer Cheryl Burke. Lochte and Burke were eliminated on Week 8 of competition, finishing in 7th place.
He signed on to play a supporting role in Little Something for Your Birthday.
|2013||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Male Reality/Variety Star||Nominated||What Would Ryan Lochte Do?|
Despite rumors in the Australian press linking Lochte with Australian swimmer Blair Evans, Lochte's mother, Ileana, confirmed to Us Weekly in a July 28, 2012, interview that her son was "too busy" to be in a relationship.
On August 1, 2012, Lochte filed an application to trademark his personal catchphrase, "Jeah", with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. He abandoned the application before it was finalized.
Lochte is good friends with longtime teammates Conor Dwyer and Michael Phelps.
During the 2016 Summer Olympics, Lochte revealed that he was in a relationship with model Kayla Rae Reid. They became engaged that following October. On December 14, 2016, the couple announced that they are currently expecting their first child.
Career best times