EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (AP) — Ryan Lochte had a surprising reaction to his latest record-setting performance.
“A little disappointed,” he said after breaking Michael Phelps’ meet record in the finals of the 200-meter individual medley Sunday at the U.S. Open.
Lochte’s time of 1 minute, 59.24 seconds bettered Phelps’ mark of 1:59.26 set on Nov. 30, 2006. Britain’s Xavier Mohammed finished second in 2:00.47, and Sam Stewart was third in 2:01.51.
“Whether I broke a world record or not, I always feel like I could go faster. No matter what the time was tonight, I knew I could go faster,” Lochte said. “Overall, that was just not a good race.”
Lochte, who set the 200 IM world and American record (1:54:00) on July 28, 2011, started well and was second at the first turn. After the second turn, the only question was how much Lochte would win by.
Yet, he was self-critical of his performance.
“The first part of the fly I felt fine and then I don’t know what happened,” Lochte said. “I think I tried too hard and it just backfired on me.”
The four-day meet at Nassau County Aquatics Center was Lochte’s first USA Swimming-sanctioned event after a 10-month suspension for his behavior during an incident at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Following a fifth-place finish in the 100 backstroke Saturday, Lochte said he viewed the 200 IM as an “indicator” of what he needed to work on in order to compete for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic swim team. He went on to say that he only trained “once or twice a week” because he and his d fiancee Kayla Rae Reid were preparing for the birth of their son, Caiden.
On Sunday, Lochte reiterated his belief that he made the right decision to focus on his family life before stressing he was now planning on preparing for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
“It’s time for me to start doing my job. I’m not going to take a break after this. I’m just going to get back in and actually start training and start getting focused and start my swimming journey for 2020,” Lochte said. “I (have) three years. I need to get back to training and actually train. There’s only one way to go now and that’s up.”
Lochte, 33, would turn 36 during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Should he qualify for the team, it would mark Lochte’s fifth Games. Of his 12 Olympic medals, three have come in the 200 IM — silver in 2004 and 2012 and bronze in 2008.