Ryan Steven Lochte is an American competitive swimmer and 12-time Olympic medalist. Along with Natalie Coughlin, Dara Torres, and Jenny Thompson, he is the second-most decorated swimmer in Olympic history measured by total number of medals, behind only Michael Phelps. Lochte’s seven individual Olympic medals rank second in history in men’s swimming (again to Michael Phelps), tied for second among all Olympic swimmers. He currently holds the world records in the 200-meter individual medley (long and short course). As part of the American teams, he also holds the world record in the 4×200-meter freestyle (long course) and 4×100-meter freestyle (mixed) relay.
Lochte’s success has earned him SwimSwam’s Swammy Award for U.S. Male Swimmer of the Year in 2013, the World Swimmer of the Year Award and the American Swimmer of the Year Award twice. He has also been named the FINA Swimmer of the Year three times. He has won a total of 90 medals in major international competition (54 gold, 22 silver, and 14 bronze) spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, Pan American Games, and Pan Pacific Championships, including six Olympic gold medals and 39 world championship titles.
Lochte specializes in the backstroke and individual medley, but is also a freestyle and butterfly swimmer. He is noted for the speed and distance he attains while kicking underwater. Lochte is also known for his dominance in the short course format (25-yard and 25-meter-long pools). Lochte swam the 100-meter individual medley in 50.71 seconds on December 15, 2012, at the FINA World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. At this same event, he is also credited with swimming the fastest 200-meter individual medley, finishing in 1 minute 49.63 seconds.
In 2016, Lochte generated international controversy when he claimed that he and three other American swimmers had been pulled over and robbed by armed men with police badges while in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Brazilian authorities sharply denied Lochte’s version of events and shed light on misdeeds by Lochte and the other athletes that precipitated the events of the night. Lochte was widely criticized following the incident and was suspended from competition by USA Swimming. Some subsequent reports suggested that certain claims by the authorities might have been untrue and that Lochte’s version of events might have been the result of language barrier and miscommunication. On July 23, 2018, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency imposed a 14-month suspension from competition on Lochte because he had received a “prohibited intravenous infusion.”
In February of 2020, Lochte signed on as an international swimming ambassador for the camps, events and programs at SPIRE Institute and Academy. It was announced that he will be engaging with students, conducting clinics and helping design the swimming program.
Lochte was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Ileana “Ike” (née Aramburu) and Steven R. Lochte. His mother is Cuban and was born and raised in Havana, while his father is of Dutch, English, and German descent. He has two older sisters, Kristin and Megan, and two younger brothers, Devon and Brandon. During his early childhood, his family lived in Bristol, New York where he attended Bloomfield Central Schools. The family moved to Florida when Ryan was 12 so his father could coach swimming.
Lochte only began taking swimming seriously when he was in junior high school. His father said, “I would send him to go shower when he was messing around. He spent more time in the showers than he did in the pool.” At 14 years old, his loss at the Junior Olympics changed his attitude. He later commented: “I suddenly said, ‘I’m sick of losing’. After that I trained hard and I never lost there again.”
Lochte attended the University of Florida and graduated in 2007, majoring in sport management. As a member of the Florida Gators swimming and diving team, he swam for coach Gregg Troy in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Southeastern Conference (SEC) competition from 2004 to 2007. At Florida, Lochte was the NCAA Swimmer of the Year twice, a seven-time NCAA champion, a seven-time SEC champion, and a 24-time All-American. At the 2006 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, during his senior year, Lochte won national titles in all three of his individual events, setting U.S. Open and American records in the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke. He also broke Tom Dolan’s nearly decade-old NCAA record in the 400-yard individual medley.
Despite rumors in the Australian press linking Lochte with Australian swimmer Blair Evans, Lochte’s mother, Ileana, confirmed to Us Weekly in a July 28, 2012, interview that her son was “too busy” to be in a relationship.
On August 1, 2012, Lochte filed an application to trademark his personal catchphrase, “Jeah”, with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. He abandoned the application before it was finalized.
Lochte is good friends with longtime teammates Conor Dwyer and Michael Phelps.
During the 2016 Summer Olympics, Lochte revealed that he was in a relationship with Playboy Playmate of the Month for July 2015 Kayla Rae Reid, who he first got in touch with via Instagram. They became engaged in October 2016, and Reid gave birth to a son named Caiden Zane Lochte on June 8, 2017. Lochte and Reid married in an at-home civil ceremony in January 2018, and followed it with a formal wedding ceremony in front of family and friends on September 9, 2018. On November 30, 2018, they announced they were expecting their second child. On December 23, 2018, they announced they were having a girl. Their daughter, Liv Rae, was born on June 17, 2019.
In November 2019, Lochte revealed to Alex Rodriguez on an episode of CNBC’s Back In The Game that he once made “well over $1 million” a year and also earned $75,000 from a single sponsor. However, he also stated to Rodriguez that his scandals – which resulted in him being suspended and losing his sponsors – and lavish spending resulted in him suffering significant financial losses. He was forced to sell his 4,200 square feet (390 m2) home and now resides in a 1,800 square feet (170 m2) apartment. He also estimated that he had only about $20,000 in savings.