Ryan Lochte announced “I’m back!” after he returned to the pool after a 14-month suspension as he tries to make it to the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
“It’s been a long three years but it’s good to be back, get on those blocks and race again,” Ryan said Wednesday at the Avery Aquatic Center, in Stanford, Ca., after qualifying for the upcoming U.S. Olympic trials.
This week marked Lochte’s first event since the suspension ended last week.
He had received a 14-month ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after incriminating himself with an Instagram post showing him hooked up to an IV.
During his time away, Lochte focused on himself, including checking himself into a rehab center for six weeks to deal with alcohol abuse.
“There was a point in my life where I needed to change, so I checked myself in,” he said. “My wife was pregnant and I needed to help her. I did all the classes and got out. Since Caiden and my new daughter Liv, I have a new perspective on life.”
“There are bigger and better things in my life. I’m glad I went to rehab. I needed help and I came out a better man,” he added
Lochte posted a 1:57.88 in a 200 IM time trial at the 2019 Phillips 66 National Championships on Wednesday, which is 4 seconds down from the 12x gold medalist's world record.
“I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone,” he said. “My big goal is 2020 and to reach the podium. I do it for me and my family. I’m having fun again. I haven’t had fun since the 2012 Olympics. My wife and kids have been my backbone. It’s awesome.”
The 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Japan from July 24 - August 9.