World champion swimmer Ryan Lochte readily admits that, as a kid, he liked to goof around. In fact, the three-time gold medalist made an effort to get kicked out of swim practice...every day. The only problem? Lotche's mom was his first swim coach. And she knew that forcing him to swim would only cause him to quit.
Related: When is it okay for your kids to quit a sport?
Ileana Lotche recalls watching a young Ryan, about four or five years old, at his first swim meet. He raced and beat out kids who were several years older than he. Shortly after, mom -- and coach -- would see him "playing around," and want to tell her son to focus on his swimming. She held back. "I couldn't be the one to push my kids to hate the sport," says Ileana Lochte. "They had to like it. So I do have to bite my tongue a lot. I can't show that competitiveness."
Mom's strategy worked. Ryan Lotche has six Olympic medals and currently holds several world records for his speed in the water. The swimmer, who appears on the June cover of Vogue magazine, is ready to earn his spot to compete in the London Games this summer and says "he loves racing the top people in the world."
Photos: Ryan Lochte swims to gold
Says Ileana: "Because I held back a lot of my opinions, he was free to love it his way. We just had to let Ryan be Ryan." And letting Ryan be Ryan means understanding that his calm, cool and collected demeanor gives him an edge when he jumps into the pool. "Being laid back," she says," it's definitely a secret weapon for him."
What about the speculation that he wants to out-medal U.S. champion swimmer, Michael Phelps?
"You know what?" says Ryan Lochte, "All that hype, I don't pay attention to it. For me to swim my best, I need to be relaxed. I'm going out there and I'm just gonna enjoy it."
The Procter & Gamble video series, "Raising an Olympian," will run through the London Games and profiles athletes, their dedicated efforts to make it to Olympic games, and the mothers who had tremendous impacts on their lives. Check out Team Mom on Yahoo! Shine all summer for additional "Raising an Olympian" segments.
Also on Shine:
Raising an Olympian: Kerri Walsh-Jennings
Raising an Olympian: Shawn Johnson
Red, white and blue treats for the kids