Swimming World Presents – A Voice For The Sport: Final Hurrah For Ryan Lochte?

Voice For the Sport Tokyo Olympics pool

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A Voice For The Sport:
Final Hurrah For Ryan Lochte?

By John Lohn

 How will Ryan Lochte be remembered? It is a six-word question without a simple response, but the answers are coming soon. At this month’s United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Lochte will chase his fifth berth to the Olympic Games, his first of four consecutive appearances made at the 2004 Games in Athens.

As a 36-year-old, Lochte will race at the CHI Health Center in what is almost surely his last Trials. In a fairytale world, he will earn one more trip to the Olympics, the 200 meter individual medley his best opportunity to again represent Team USA in international waters. In what is a highly realistic outcome, Lochte will fall short, Father Time remaining undefeated as a younger generation of American talent ushers in a changing of the guard.

Whether or not Lochte qualifies for the Tokyo Games, this much is true: In the coming years, he will be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. But when his name surfaces, what will first come to mind? Will the discussion focus on the double-digit Olympic medals he has collected? Or will the focus relate to the multiple pitfalls that have beset Lochte throughout his career?

From a purely athletic standpoint, Lochte is a legend. With 12 Olympic medals to his name, he is tied with Jenny Thompson, Dara Torres and Natalie Coughlin as the second-most decorated swimmers in history. He is an individual Olympic champion in the 200 backstroke and 400 individual medley. He is a world record holder. He has been a longtime cog during the United States’ global dominance in the 800 freestyle relay.

Unfortunately, Lochte has often overshadowed his in-water excellence with poor decisions on dry land. Early in his career, his free-spirited nature could be entertaining, most evident in his decision to wear Grillz on his teeth on various international podiums. If that choice was funny to some, others viewed Lochte as a goofball.

A decorative dental piece, though, hardly triggers the radar compared to other choices. When Lochte became embroiled in controversy at the 2016 Olympic Games, he brought embarrassment upon himself and Team USA. In Rio, Lochte and three teammates followed a night of partying by urinating outside at a gas station. Ultimately, the foursome was confronted by security guards, and the next day, Lochte told a tale of being held up and robbed at gun point. The aftermath of the incident was a 10-month suspension by USA Swimming and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Then, in 2018, Lochte was suspended for 14 months by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after he received an intravenous infusion. Although the IV infusion, which Lochte posted to social media, was of a permitted substance, it violated anti-doping rules since Lochte did not have a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

The truth is, Lochte has been his own enemy, poor decisions dotting his career. While he knows he has not helped himself, Lochte has also worked hard to do the right thing in recent years and has dedicated himself to being a husband and doting father to his two children. He deeply wants people to see him in a brighter light.

“There’s a lot of people out there that have a different perception of who I really am,” he said. “I want to set the record straight, and I want people to see how I’ve grown up, how I’ve matured and the person I am today.”

In Omaha, which is serving as the Olympic Trials host for the fourth straight time, Lochte will be among the most-watched athletes. He is also a guy worth supporting. Sure, he has made his share of mistakes. But his talent is too spectacular to forget, and, over the years, he has meant a great deal to USA Swimming. At a time when Michael Phelps seemed unbeatable, Lochte showed otherwise, and proved the bar can be raised through a combination of belief and hard work.

So, as Ryan Lochte heads to the Olympic Trials in search of another Olympic odyssey, get behind the Team USA veteran. It would be nice to see a final hurrah.

John Lohn
Associate Editor-in-Chief
Swimming World Magazine

 

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Swimming World June 2021 - Nathan Adrian - A Natural Leader - COVER
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Swimming World June 2021 Issue

FEATURES

12  |  U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS PREVIEW
by David Rieder
The fastest swimmers in the United States will be putting their hopes and dreams on the line at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Swimming, June 13-20, in Omaha, Neb. If realized, they’ll have the opportunity to perform next month on the world’s grandest stage: the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

22  |  A NATURAL LEADER
by John Lohn
Still producing elite-level performances, Nathan Adrian, now 32 and pursuing his fourth Olympic Games, has the opportunity to further his already lofty reputation. And whenever his days in the sport come to an end, Adrian will be viewed for his excellence in the sport as an athlete, teammate and ambassador.

25  |  NJCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: QUALITY & QUANTITY
by Andy Ross
That’s the same winning formula that Indian River’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have been using for nearly a half-century at the NJCAA Championships. The Pioneer men now have won 47 straight team titles; the women, 39—and 43 of the past 47.

26  |  TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: A FORGOTTEN STAR
by John Lohn
By all measures, Don Schollander is a legend in the sport, a Hall of Fame talent who was unrivaled in his heyday. Yet, his impact has been lost to a combination of unfortunate timing and modern-day fascination.

29  |  DOMINANCE AND PARITY ON DISPLAY IN TOKYO
by Dan D’Addona
While the U.S. women have dominated international water polo since 2015—winning their second straight Olympics in 2016 plus three World Championships in 2015-17-19—a different men’s champion has emerged at each of the last three major international competitions—Serbia (2016 Olympics), Croatia (2017 Worlds) and Italy (2019 Worlds).

30  |  ISHOF: REMEMBERING THE KALILI BROTHERS—90 YEARS AGO
by Bruce Wigo
As kids who preferred to dive for coins rather than race in a swimming pool, brothers Maiola and Manuella Kalili from Hawaii would eventually become national champions and Olympic silver medalists in 1932.

33  |  NUTRITION: HOW MANY CALORIES SHOULD I EAT?
by Dawn Weatherwax
As long course, Olympics and endurance events get underway, a common question is: “How much do I need to eat?” This is a loaded question—one in which the author will try to simplify.

35  |  MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH AMY BILQUIST
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

38  |  SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: MAXIMIZING SWIMMING VELOCITY (Part 2)—STROKE CYCLE PHASES
by Rod Havriluk
Swimmers typically decrease non-propulsive time to decrease stroke time, increase stroke rate and swim faster. Research shows that a further decrease in the non-propulsive time is possible and should produce further performance improvement.

40  |  A COACHES’ GUIDE TO  ENERGY SYSTEMS
by Michael J. Stott
In the first of two parts, Swimming World explores the concept of energy systems and how coaches can use them to maximize athlete development and performance.

42  |  SPECIAL SETS: KATIE LEDECKY—RUN-UP TO RIO 2016
by Michael J. Stott
With this month’s Olympic Swimming Trials now upon us, Swimming World takes a back-to-the-future approach to revisit some training done by superstar Katie Ledecky prior to the 2016 U.S. team qualifying meet.

44  |  Q&A WITH COACH  CATHERINE KASE
by Michael J. Stott

45  |  HOW THEY TRAIN  HALEY ANDERSON
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

037  |  DRYSIDE TRAINING:  TRAINING AMY BILQUIST
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

47  |  UP & COMERS:  KEELAN COTTER
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

08  |  A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

11  |   DID YOU KNOW:  ABOUT BUSTER CRABBE?

48  |  GUTTERTALK

49  |  PARTING SHOT

 

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