Ryan Steven Lochte is known for working hard and playing harder.
Born in Rochester, New York, on this date in 1984—as the legendary Tracy Caulkins [Daily Dose, 4/8/16]] was winning a gold medal in the 200 IM at the Los Angeles Olympics—he is the third of five children born to parents who were both swim coaches. Steven Lochte [LOCK-tee] moved his family to Florida to accept a coaching position when Ryan was five. Lochte played basketball, soccer and rode his skateboard as a kid, preferring to goof off more than to work. He was competitive, challenging his father—who was his swim coach—to milk-chugging contests at the breakfast table. Lochte was talented, but free spirited. “I would send him to the showers when he was messing around,” recalled his father. “He spent more time in the showers than he did in the pool.” That changed at 14, when Lochte finished second at Junior Olympics meet. “I suddenly said, ‘I’m sick of losing.’ After that, I trained hard and never lost there again.” Lochte attended Spruce Creek High School—the largest International Baccalaureate secondary school in North America—in Port Orange, a coastal town about five miles south of Daytona Beach. As a senior, he won state titles in the 200 and 500 freestyle events as well as capturing the 200 freestyle relay crown. Lochte accepted a scholarship to the University of Florida—alma mater of Caulkins—and arrived in Gainesville in late summer 2002 to compete for legendary swim coach Gregg Troy.
Lochte was a seven-time NCAA champion and 24-time All-American at Florida. He claimed seven SEC titles and was twice named NCAA Swimmer of the Year. At the 2006 NCAA Championships, he broke Tom Dolan’s record in the 400 IM, a mark that had stood for nearly ten years. The 6’2”, 194 pound “Lochtenator” qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in 2004, winning a gold medal—the first of his Olympic career—in the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay. He also claimed silver in the 200 meter IM after finishing second to Michael Phelps [Daily Dose, 6/30/16]. Four years later in Athens, he won the 200 meter backstroke to claim his first individual Olympic gold medal, while also taking a relay gold and two bronze medals in the IM events.
The Individual Medley [IM] is the most technically demanding event in swimming. It requires focus, a high tolerance for pain, and proficiency in all four swimming strokes—butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. IM champions have no weaknesses and are the finest all around swimmers the sport has to offer. American Olympic champions include Mark Spitz [Daily Dose, 9/4/15 ], Phelps, Caulkins, and Dolan. At the 2012 London Olympics, Ryan Lochte joined that elite list by taking gold in the 400 IM. He finished second in the 200 IM and won gold in the 4 x 200 freestyle relay for the third straight Games. The 28-year-old Lochte showcased his versatility by winning bronze in the 200 meter backstroke. Mr. Lochte left the 2012 Summer Games with six Olympic medals, giving him eleven for his career.
The former slacker has become one of the top swimmers on the planet. Fiercely competitive and driven, Lochte is a tireless worker whose workouts are legendary—training five hours a day, with two workouts each day, seven days a week. He flips tractor tires, drags chains, and swims 70,000 meters per week. Lochte’s swimming idol is Pablo Morales, world record holder in the 100 meter butterfly from 1986-95 and 1992 Olympic gold medal winner. Noted for the speed and distance he gains while kicking underwater after coming off the wall, Lochte is a dominant short course swimmer. Nicknamed “Reezy,” Lochte is a fan of rapper Lil’ Wayne and his dream is to one day become a clothing designer. Mr. Lochte owns five Olympic medals and 89 international medals, 53 of which are gold. He has won seven individual Olympic medals and currently holds three world records. Ryan Lochte is a three-time FINA Swimmer of the Year award winner, has twice been named World Swimmer of the Year and earned two American Swimmer of the Year titles. He also likes to have fun, having twice injured himself while wrecking scooters. Lochte played a version of himself on the hit NBC show 30 Rock, played himself on CW’s 90210 and flashed custom-made grillz—a $ 25,000 retainer filled with stars and striped-shaped diamonds–created for him by rapper Paul Wall and Houston jeweler Johnny Dang at the 2012 London Olympics. Next week, Mr. Lochte will be competing in his fourth consecutive Summer Olympics.