Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte edged by swimmer half his age in Olympic trials preview

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If Ryan Lochte is to make a fifth Olympic team in his trademark event at nearly age 36, he will likely have to go through 18-year-old Carson Foster at the June Olympic trials.

But Foster scored a psychological victory on Saturday, relegating Lochte to second place in the 200m individual medley at a Pro Series meet in Greensboro, N.C.

Foster, the world junior champion, touched the wall in 1:58.93. Lochte, the four-time world champion and world-record holder in the event, registered 2:00.65. Both were off their fastest times of the year, unsurprising at a November meet where top swimmers are usually not at their peaks.

“I grew up idolizing Ryan,” Foster, who was 2 years old when Lochte competed at his first Olympics in 2004, said on NBCSN. “It’s an honor to be able to race him. I look forward to racing him more.”

That will surely happen. Foster and Lochte are two of the leading contenders in the 200m IM, though trials are still eight months away. Chase Kalisz, who earned gold and bronze at the last two worlds, is fastest among Americans this year by a comfortable .71 at 1:56.78.

Lochte and Foster rank Nos. 4 and 5, both within a second of the No. 2 swimmer Michael Andrew. The top two at trials make the Olympic team.

Lochte is trying to become the oldest U.S. Olympic male swimmer in an individual event since 1904. And doing so after a pair of suspensions — 10 months in 2016 and 2017 for his Rio Olympic gas station incident and 14 months for a May 2018 IV infusion of an illegal amount of a legal substance.

He also spent six weeks in rehab for alcohol addiction after a reported early morning California hotel incident in October 2018.

Foster, meanwhile, is trying to become the youngest U.S. Olympic male swimmer since 2000, when a 15-year-old Michael Phelps made his Olympic debut. Foster, who has been breaking Phelps national age-group records since he was 10, committed to the University of Texas in March 2018, two years before he graduates high school in Ohio.

The Pro Series moves to Knoxville, Tenn., for the next stop in January. Top swimmers are also expected at the U.S. Open in Atlanta in early December.

In other events Saturday, Katie Ledecky won the 800m free by 15.93 seconds in 8:14.95. She has broken 8:15 a total of 25 times in her career, according to USA Swimming’s database. Her world record is 8:04.79, and no other woman has broken 8:14.

Ledecky finished the meet, her first on the Pro Series since struggling through the summer world championships with an illness, with her trademark sweep of the 200m, 400m and 800m frees.

“That felt about a thousand times better than it did at worlds,” Ledecky said Saturday. “I know I’m in a good spot right now.”

Simone Manuel also won her signature events, following her Thursday victory in the 100m freestyle with a 50m free title on Saturday. She clocked 24.96 seconds, beating Catie DeLoof by .16.

Manuel is the American record holder and world champion in both sprints and shaping for a possible six-event lineup at the Tokyo Games when including four relays.

MORE: Ryan Lochte says Michael Phelps helped him in comeback

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Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky win first TYR Pro Swim Series races

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Simone Manuel won the 100m freestyle by nearly a full second and Katie Ledecky won the 400m free by nearly nine seconds in the first full night of action at the TYR Pro Swim Series opener Thursday in Greensboro, N.C.

The times reflected the start of a new swim season: Manuel finished in 53.44 seconds, well off her U.S. record of 52.04 set this summer, and Ledecky won in 4:01.68.

The second place finisher in both races was the same — four-time Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt

Ledecky was listed on the psych sheet for the 100m free but did not start. She’s still due to face Manuel in the 200m free on Friday.

READ: Manuel, Ledecky set for rare matchup

Hali Flickinger also won easily in the 200m butterfly, finishing in 2:07.65. Second place went to 15-year-old Charlotte Hook in 2:10.10.

Flickinger also raced in the 400m freestyle and tied for fifth with Ashley Twichell, who won the 1,500m free Wednesday night.

The other 1,500m winner, Zane Grothe, won the 400m in 3:48.80, more than three seconds ahead of Mitch D’Arrigo.

MORE: Twichell, Grothe win 1,500m races

The men’s 200m butterfly saw teenagers make a podium sweep — Luca Urlando (17), Matthew Fenlon (17) and Carson Foster (18). Urlando finished in 1:56.00, more than two seconds ahead.

Ryan Lochte, who returned from a 14-month suspension in August to win the U.S. title in the 200m medley, made two finals in events that aren’t his strongest, finishing seventh in the 200m butterfly and eighth in a tightly packed bunch in the 100m free.

Andrew Wilson, who won two relay silver medals in the world championships this summer, was pushed in the 100m breaststroke, winning in 1:00.76 to Jorge Murillo‘s 1:00.99.

Recent and current collegians won the other two events of the night. Dean Farris, who won the 100m free and 100m backstroke for Harvard in the 2019 NCAA championships, won the 100m free in 49.74, just ahead of the N.C. State tandem of Nyls Korstanje and Coleman Stewart. N.C. State sophomore Sophie Hansson, a 2016 Olympian for Sweden, won the 100m breaststroke in 1:07.89, just 0.06 ahead of Molly Hannis.

Coverage will air on the Olympic Channel at 6 p.m. ET Friday and on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET Saturday. Prelims will be streamed at usaswimming.org

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Ryan Lochte, with Michael Phelps’ help, says he is back at his peak

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Ryan Lochte said he recently got serious in his comeback from two suspensions and rehab for alcohol addiction. He received pointers from Michael Phelps, according to TODAY.

“My times that I’m doing in practice are things that I’ve seen back when I was at my peak in 2012,” Lochte said in an interview that aired Wednesday morning.

Lochte, 35 and the most decorated active Olympian with 12 medals, is bidding to make his fifth Olympic team next year. He could become the oldest U.S. Olympic male swimmer in an individual event since 1904.

Lochte last competed at the U.S. Championships in early August, winning the 200m individual medley against a field that lacked the top Americans who swam at the July world championships.

Still, his time ranked him fourth in the country for the year. The top two at the Olympic trials in June qualify for the Tokyo Games. Lochte could also try the 200m freestyle, where the top six are likely go to Tokyo for the 4x200m free relay.

Lochte competed at nationals after revealing that he spent six weeks in rehab for alcohol addiction during a 14-month ban for a May 2018 IV infusion of an illegal amount of a legal substance.

In October 2018, Lochte’s attorney said that Lochte had been battling alcohol addiction for many years, and that it had become a destructive pattern for him. Those comments came after TMZ reported that Lochte was involved in an early morning California hotel incident.

When asked at nationals if he still drinks alcohol, Lochte said he had a glass of wine to celebrate the June birth of his daughter, Liv, but that he doesn’t care for it.

“If I was to keep going down this destructive path that I was going to end up … something tragic,” Lochte said on TODAY. “I don’t care to go out and party, to be the loud one anymore.”

Lochte, now a married father of two, said he went into nationals 22 pounds overweight.

“When my daughter was born, training kind of started slipping away,” he said. “So I went to fast food, and I started eating just everything.”

Lochte has since shed 21 of those pounds, according to his social media. Phelps similarly gained weight in his post-2012 retirement. Phelps also spent 45 days in an Arizona rehab facility after a 2014 arrest for driving under the influence that led to a six-month suspension.

“[Phelps has] been giving him pointers on how to make this comeback, in and out of the pool,” TODAY’s Craig Melvin said. “One of the things that Phelps told him he should be doing is leaning on his family for support.”

MORE: U.S. Olympic champion swimmer retires after doping ban

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