Ryan Steven Lochte (/?l?kti/, lock-tee; born August 3, 1984) is an American competitive swimmer and an eleven-time Olympic medalist (five gold, three silver, three bronze). His seven individual Olympic medals ranks near the top in men’s swimming. As part of the American team, he holds the world record in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay (long course). Individually, he currently holds the world record in the 100-meter individual medley, 200-meter individual medley (long and short course), and the 400-meter individual medley (short course).
Lochte’s success has earned him 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 74 medals in major international competition, 48 gold, 15 silver, and 11 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 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 was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Ileana “Ike” and Steven R. Lochte. His mother is Cuban and was born and raised in Havana, while his father is of German and English descent. He had three older sisters, Kristin, and Megan, and three younger brothers, Devon,and Brandon. During his early childhood, his family lived in Canandaigua, New York, but moved to Florida so his father could coach swimming. Lochte was taught to swim at the age of five by both of his parents. Ryan 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 a junior in high school. Steve Lochte 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 fourteen years old, Ryan’s loss at the Junior Olympics changed his attitude towards swimming: “I suddenly said, ‘I’m sick of losing’. After that I trained hard and I never lost there again.”
He is a 2002 graduate of Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange, Florida.
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. At Florida, Lochte was the NCAA Swimmer of the Year twice, a seven-time NCAA champion, a seven-time SEC champion, and a twenty-four time All-American. At the 2006 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, during his senior year, Lochte won individual titles in all three of his individual events, setting U.S. Open and American records in the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard backstroke. He also broke Tom Dolan’s nearly decade-old NCAA record in the 400-yard individual medley.
2004 Athens – Men’s swimming
Competitor for the USA
Gold 4×200 m freestyle relay 7:07.33
Silver 200 m individual medley 1:58.78
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, 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
2008 Beijing – Men’s swimming
Competitor for the USA
Gold 200 m backstroke 1:53.94 (WR)
Gold 4×200 m freestyle relay 6:58.56 (WR)
Bronze 200 m individual medley 1:56.53
Bronze 400 m individual medley 4:08.09
Lochte (left) with Phelps (center) and Cseh (right) after winning the bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 400-meter individual medley.
See also: Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics
At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, 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
See also: Swimming at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships
Lochte at the 2009 National 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 thirteen international medals, twelve of them gold.
2011 World Championships
See also: Swimming at the 2011 World Aquatics 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
See also: Swimming at the 2012 Summer Olympics
2012 London – Men’s swimming
Competitor for the USA
Gold 400 m individual medley 4:05.18
Gold 4×200 m freestyle relay 6:59.70
Silver 200 m individual medley 1:54.90
Silver 4×100 m freestyle relay 3:10.38
Bronze 200 m backstroke 1:53.94
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 that it 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 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 to continue swimming through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He is also considering exploring new events.
2013 World Championships
See also: Swimming at the 2013 World Aquatics 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 m 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.
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.
Actor and comedian 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 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. Additionally, he showed interest in being a participant on Dancing with the Stars.
What Would Ryan Lochte Do? began airing April 21, 2013 on E!.
Year Group Award Result Notes
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Male Reality/Variety Star Nominated What Would Ryan Lochte Do?
September 2013: Launched his own flavors of yogurt at Yogurtology Fl, Gainesville Fl.
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 and stated that it “wouldn’t be fair to the girl.”
On August 1, 2012, Lochte trademarked his personal catchphrase, “Jeah,” with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Interview Issue 2012: Swimmer Ryan Lochte on Beating Michael Phelps
The world record holder dishes on his diamond grills and his plans for London
By: Ryan Krogh
“I always knew I was capable of beating Michael Phelps.” Photo: Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
“I actually haven’t given London much thought.”
You can’t tell the story of swimmer Ryan Lochte without mentioning Michael Phelps. For years, the 27-year-old Rochester, New York, native played bridesmaid to his close friend, the 14-time Olympic gold medalist. At the Beijing Games, in 2008, he was almost an afterthought to the Phelps show, but since then Lochte, a six-time Olympic medalist himself (three golds, one silver, and two bronzes), hasn’t lost to Phelps in any meaningful competition. The notoriously laid-back star has set world records in the short- and long-course 200-meter individual medley and the 400-meter IM, often considered the sport’s toughest race. At the 2011 world championships, Lochte won six medals—five of them golds, and two in races that pit him directly against Phelps. Afterward, Lochte insisted he should have done better. “I’m not happy,” he said. “I know I can go a lot faster.” There’s a good chance he’ll qualify for at least eight events this summer in London, which raises the question: Does he think he can match Phelps’s 2008 Olympic-record haul of eight golds? Ryan Krogh caught up with Lochte at his training base in Florida to find out.
What’s your goal for London?
I actually haven’t given London much thought.
Do you think it’s possible to beat Phelps’s record?
I think so. It was a great Olympics, obviously, but he’s a regular person just like the rest of us.
How did it feel to finally defeat him last year?
It was a huge confidence boost. I always knew I was capable of beating Michael—I always feel like I can win—but once it happened, I knew that I could do it again and again.
Do you get fed up with the comparisons?
I’ve been swimming against him since 2004, and I was more fed up with placing second all the time. After 2008, I said enough is enough. I’ve got to do some things differently to make sure that never happens again.
Like cutting back on fast food, which you were famous for fueling up with?
I never really noticed how what you put in your body has an effect on how you compete. I tried eating better, and I started seeing improvements almost immediately. I was having weeks and weeks of great practices, and that definitely carried over into competition.
You’re a big skateboarder, too, and you’ve sustained a few injuries. Your coaches must hate that.
If they had their way, I’d be in a plastic bubble. I just can’t do that. If I get injured, I get injured. I’m having fun. So I’m going to keep doing that, and it doesn’t matter what happens.
What’s the story with the diamond teeth grill you always wear on the podium?
It started in 2007 as a dare. I had these grills in my bag—I don’t even know how I got them—and I pulled them out and showed a friend. He was like, “Oh man! If you get a medal, bro, you gotta wear those.” The next day I won a medal, and I wore them out there. It was the funniest thing.
Rumor has it you lost one while partying in Beijing.
I think the damn cleaning lady took it! I was so mad.
Going into this Olympics, you’re getting more requests for media appearances. Does the spotlight ever get to you?
If I start thinking about all that, I’m going to be complete dog crap in the race. I need to stay relaxed and just have fun with it. I try not to let swimming define who I am. It’s just a sport that I’m fairly good at.
Any regrets about not being smarter with your training before 2008?
By all means. I honestly want to know what kind of athlete I would have been if I knew back then what I know now. But I’m not beating myself up over it. I’m doing just fine. You can say I’m a late bloomer.