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Lochte is making some changes in leadup to Rio

June 25, 2013

Ryan Lochte 3

After July’s world championships in Barcelona, Ryan Lochte will pack up his Speedos and move from the college town he’s called home for almost 12 years.

“I just need a different atmosphere,” Lochte said as he prepared for world championship trials which begin Tuesday. “I’m going to be traveling. Australia, Japan, China? Who knows where I’ll be?”

Gainesville, Fla., will continue to be Lochte’s base, but his passport will be a bit more weathered by the time the 2016 Olympics open in Rio de Janeiro. Much will change, but one touchstone will remain the same. “Gregg Troy will always be my coach, he’s the world’s best coach in my eyes, he’s gotten me to where I am,” Lochte said.

Troy, the University of Florida coach, is mapping out Lochte’s swimabout, connecting with coaches who share his philosophies but would provide a different training atmosphere. American coaches tend to be possessive when it comes to their swimmers, but Troy sees the stints of separation as necessary growth.

“Gainesville is a small town,” Troy said. “A 28-year-old guy that’s high profile, it’s hard for him to go anywhere. The intention is to stay fresh for 2016. At 32, not many guys are still competing in multiple events and I don’t think he has any desire to drop his multiple events.”

Lochte’s swimabout will also be a great way to see the world, Troy said. Since winning five medals at the London Games, Lochte has seen much more than the black line on the bottom of the pool.

The reality show What Would Ryan Lochte Do? followed him as he looked for love (still looking), built his fashion line, hung out in Hollywood and trained. Since his training was disjointed after London, Lochte struggled, especially at the Orlando Grand Prix in February. “Swimming was secondary, maybe third to some extent,” Troy said. “If he wanted to have any success at all this summer, it wasn’t going to continue the way it was.” (There isn’t expected to be a second season of WWRLD given the tepid ratings.)

The last two months, Lochte said he cut out all his “extracurricular activities.” His current schedule: swimming, eating, sleeping. And winning. At the recent Santa Clara Grand Prix, Lochte won the 400-meter individual medley, the 200 back, the 100 fly and the 200 IM.

“The biggest challenge was getting back into the pool after taking a break for so long you get sucked into that celebrity lifestyle, going to all these red carpet events, you don’t have to wake up and go to the swimming pool,” Lochte said. Still, he said he has no regrets because he had fun and got to spend a lot of time with his family.

When a reporter mentioned the history of swimming stars gone Hollywood, beginning with Johnny Weissmuller in the 1920s and 30s, Lochte cocked an eyebrow, not quite sure of where the conversation was headed. “Ever want to play Tarzan?” he was asked.

“I can swing from vines in the jungle and beat my chest,” Lochte said as he let out an “AAAAAaaaAAAHH!

Living a pampered red carpet life gave him pause about his Olympic future though. “It took a good month to get somewhat in good shape. I had some doubts when I first got back to swimming. Should I hang up the Speedo and just call it quits or do I keep moving? ”

USA TODAY Sports|Kelly Whiteside

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