Ryan Lochte set a U.S. Open record in winning the 200-meter individual medley Sunday at the Nassau County Aquatic Center previously held by some guy named Phelps.
Lochte’s time of 1:59.24 just narrowly bested 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps’ 1:59.26, set in November 2006. Lochte said the event would set a benchmark for how quickly he’d have to ramp up his training.
But just one day after saying he was satisfied with his fifth-place finish in the 100 backstroke, Lochte said he was disappointed in his performance in the IM.
“Whether I broke a world record or not, I feel like I can always go faster,” said Lochte, who raced in the U.S. Open after finishing a 10-month suspension handed down by USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee for his part in an incident during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“No matter what the time was tonight, I knew I could go faster,” Lochte said. “Overall, that was just not a good race. But it’s a starting point, so now I have three years (until the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo). I need to get back into training and actually train. There’s only one way to go now, and that’s up.”
After finishing the first leg, the butterfly, in second, Lochte turned to another gear and didn’t trail after the conclusion of the next leg, the backstroke. Lochte said he was unhappy with how he finished the butterfly portion of the race.
“The first part of the fly I felt fine, then I don’t know what happened,” he said. “I think I tried too hard, and it just backfired on me. It’s my first swim meet back in a year, and this is a starting point.”
The suspension has kept Lochte out of the water in competition, and his family, including his two-month-old son, has prevented him from training more than one or two times a week.
“My lack of training this year, I put my family first,” he said. “I have no regrets for that. Family’s everything. Now that Caiden’s born and everything, now it’s time for me to do my job.”
Now with a full meet under his belt, Lochte has one goal: Tokyo in 2020
Long Beach’s Aroesty places 2nd
With the home crowd roaring, Long Beach’s Margaret Aroesty finished second with a time of 2:12.83 in the finals of the women’s 200 IM. She was the top seed after a preliminary time of 2:15.11. Aroesty led after the third leg, the breaststroke, before Meaghan Raab of Nashville Aquatic Club won with a time of 2:12.56.