New chef, new coach, but same ‘goofball’ Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte
Getty Images
0 Comments

1. Ryan Lochte has grown to enjoy eating greens with his new chef, who prepared meals for LeBron James for five years.

“This is what I wish I listened to when I was in college, or before that,” Lochte said. “How did I get those gold medals, how did I get to the Olympics eating all this crap?”

But Lochte sticks to his tradition of pizza and wings every Friday night.

2. After 11 years in Gainesville, Fla., Lochte moved to Charlotte in 2013 to work under a coach he calls a “mad scientist,” who would help him focus on shorter events.

“To start a new swimming career,” Lochte said.

But Lochte is again dipping his toes into his most time-consuming race from previous Olympic cycles, the grueling 400m individual medley.

3. Lochte said he considered quitting the sport twice following the London 2012 Games — after the burnout from his reality TV show and while sidelined after tearing a left knee ligament twice in a six-month span in 2013 and 2014.

“I had a lot of doubt that I was never going to be the same swimmer again,” he said.

But last year Lochte captured his fourth straight World title in the 200m individual medley. He left the World Championships as the only U.S. man with an individual gold medal.

Lochte, 31, is approaching what could be his fourth and final Olympics with some things old and some things new.

The 11-time Olympic medalist never pulls up his past races on YouTube. Lochte’s recollection of his first Olympics in 2004 is instead a little bit different.

“Long hair, eating McDonald’s, just being a total goofball,” he said. “I guess not much has changed, except for the long hair and eating McDonald’s.”

The friendly rivalry with Michael Phelps remains, too.

They went one-two in their first Olympic head-to-head in the Athens 2004 200m individual medley. Last year, Phelps and Lochte were the only two men in the world to break 1:56 in the 200m individual medley.

It’s been noted that Phelps can become the oldest individual Olympic swimming champion of all time in August. But Lochte is one year older than Phelps.

Lochte is mum on what he will race at the Olympic trials (like Phelps), how much longer he will continue swimming after the Rio Games (unlike Phelps) and if he’ll stay in Charlotte training under David Marsh after the Olympics.

An enduring Lochte trait is his spirited attitude toward his career, audible as he sings and makes animal noises in practice.

It will be time to hang up the cap and goggles when he no longer feels like that pool-deck goofball.

“When I wake up and I don’t want to go to a swimming pool,” Lochte said. “Once I start thinking that swimming is a job.”

VIDEO: New Michael Phelps Under Armour spot