Lochte fin­ishes fifth in 100m back­stroke

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ryan Lochte had ques­tions. He needed an­swers. After a fifth place fin­ish in the men’s 100 me­ter back­stroke fi­nal with a time of 55.16 sec­onds Satur­day at the US Open, the Olympian be­lieves heknows where he stands.

“It’s a good start­ing point,” Lochte said fol­low­ing his first USA Swim­ming-sanc­tioned event after a 10-month sus­pen­sion for his be­hav­ior at Rio de Janeiro Olympics. “Com­ing into this meet is just (to) get a start­ing point and build off from there.”

Arkady Vy­atchanin was first with a time of 53.91, fol­lowed by Christo­pher Reid (54.54), Xavier Mo­hammed (54.62) and Brock Bonetti (54.99). Lochte will swim in the 200 in­di­vid­ual med­ley today, where he is the top seed. The week­long event, held at the Nas­sau County Aquatic Cen­ter, is serv­ing as Lochte’s first rec­og­nized com­pet­i­tive meet fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent at the Rio Olympics.

After a night out with team­mates Gun­nar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen, Lochte had claimed in an in­ter­view with NBC that the taxi the swim­mers were in had been pulled over and the ath­letes were robbed at gun­point. In a sub­se­quent in­ter­view with NBC, Lochte said he “over-ex­ag­ger­ated” the in­ci­dent.

How­ever, Brazil­ian author­i­ties, cit­ing video­tape ev­i­dence, re­vealed the swim­mers were con­fronted by se­cu­rity per­son­nel after de­stroy­ing a gas sta­tion bath­room. Lochte even­tu­ally posted a mea culpa on his Twit­ter ac­count. Last Septem­ber, USA Swim­ming and the United States Olympic Com­mit­tee an­nounced Lochte was sus­pended for 10 months and would be fined $100,000 for his role, which cost him spon­sor­ships with Speedo, Ralph Lauren, Air­weave and Gen­tle Hair Re­moval.

A Brazil­ian ap­pel­late court in July dis­missed crim­i­nal charges against Lochte, say­ing he did not break the law be­cause the swim­mer’s claims to NBC were not equal to fil­ing a false po­lice re­port. “What­ever hap­pened, hap­pened in the past. I’m a hu­man. I made a mis­take. I learned from it.

Just like ev­ery­one else. And I’ve moved on from it. I’ve bet­tered my­self. I set­tled down,” Lochte said. “I’ve learned from my mis­takes. I think ev­ery­one in the world is un­der­stand­ing of that. The past is the past. Ev­ery­one is mov­ing on from it.” Fans stood and shot video of Lochte on smart­phones and tablets, and they cheered when his name was an­nounced.

“The love and sup­port that I see at this swim meet - the fans - is awe­some. It’s one of the rea­sons I’m still swim­ming. Be­cause of those fans and the love and the sup­port they show me,” said Lochte, who had his fi­ancee Kayla Rae Reid, in­fant son Caiden, fa­ther Steven and mother Ileana with him. “I knew just from so­cial me­dia and how peo­ple are so sup­port­ive of me, but I didn’t know it was go­ing to be like this.”

Lochte has said he is ey­ing a spot on the 2020 Olympic team. The 33-year old has won six gold medals at the last four Olympics and would turn 36 dur­ing the 2020 Sum­mer Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo. “It’s go­ing to be a long jour­ney the next three years,” said Lochte, who is train­ing at the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. He es­ti­mated that he swims once-to-twice a week. “I wish I could be there more. Like I said, I go once, maybe twice a week. A good week I go twice and that is nowhere near where I need to be at.

“Be­fore 2012 when I was at my peak, I was train­ing daily. I was hun­gry. Then I lost that the past four years. Now the hunger is inside but I haven’t done the train­ing . ... Now it’s go time.”

— AP

EAST MEADOW: Ryan Lochte swims on the way to a fifth-place fin­ish in the men’s 100-me­ter back­stroke Satur­day, at the US Open in East Meadow, N.Y.

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