Ryan Lochte’s road to Rio was full of speed bumps and turbulence leading up to – and even including – the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.
First, he uprooted his Gainesville, Florida-based party-boy lifestyle to train in Charlotte, North Carolina under David Marsh, the head coach of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Swim Team, in October 2013.
A month later, a fan ran into him and he tore his MCL and sprained his ACL. He tried coming back – admittedly too early – in February 2014. He finally rebounded by the summer Nationals and the Pan Pacific Championships.
On the flight to the Omaha, Nebraska from their Charlotte, North Carolina base, Lochte and his teammates were diverted to Kansas City, Missouri due to an oxygen issue. They trained in a YMCA and took two rental cars the rest of the way to Omaha, arriving near midnight.
Then, Lochte later admitted, he pulled a muscle in his groin during the preliminary heat of the 400m individual medley – a race he captured Olympic gold in during the London Games four years ago. He faded to third in the final and didn’t qualify to compete in the event in Rio.
It appears that now Lochte is back on track. He secured a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team by placing fourth in the 200m freestyle during Tuesday night’s final – good enough for a relay spot. He’s been on the 4x200m freestyle relay at Olympic Games dating back to his first appearance in 2004. He owns three gold medals from that relay alone.
Lochte becomes just the third U.S. male swimmer to make four Olympic Games appearances, alongside Jason Lezak. Michael Phelps is also in that club, though he’s looking to make it five after these Trials.
Throughout the week at Trials, Lochte will have other opportunities to qualify individually for the Rio Olympic team. He’s also entered in the 100m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 100m butterfly and the 200m individual medley.