Michael Phelps is mentoring 36-year-old former rival Ryan Lochte as he attempts to make a 5th Olympics
Michael Phelpshas become a mentor for Ryan Lochteas Lochte attempts to make the Tokyo Olympics.
- Phelps gave Lochte training advice, and Lochte said their weekly talks have helped him a lot.
- Phelps and Lochte were once rivals in the pool, though Phelps often got the better of Lochte.
Michael Phelps has assumed an unlikely mentor role with his former rival Ryan Lochte, according to Josh Peter of USA Today.
The 36-year-old Lochte is attempting to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, which would be his fifth Olympics.
In the wake of his robbery scandal at the Rio Olympics - in which Lochte and three other swimmers had a gun pointed at them after drunkenly vandalizing a gas station, rather than being robbed at gunpoint, as he had initially claimed - a 14-month suspension for receiving an unapproved IV, a stint in rehab for alcohol, Lochte turned to Phelps for help.
Lochte told Peter that he had reached out to Phelps after the robbery scandal in Rio but never heard from the
Lochte said while he was struggling with his training, he reached out to Phelps again, and this time heard back.
"I know when he took a break from swimming, when he came back he was in the same boat," Lochte told USA Today. "He was doing horrible, way off his best times.
"So I talked to him and he's like, 'You've just done so much work that your body is beat up. So when you taper, you're going to light it up.'"According to Peter, Lochte began posting better times when he lightened his workload and increased his rest.
Lochte said he and Phelps still talk weekly.
"He's helping me out a lot," Lochte said.
Lochte's father Steve told Peter, "Reaching out to Michael really helped Ryan because Michael's been through a lot and so has Ryan, and why not reach out to the best?"
Phelps-Lochte was never a major rivalry in their disdain for one another, but in their obvious competition to be the best. Phelps won a majority of their head-to-head battles and collected the most medals, but Lochte racked up quite a resume himself: six Olympic gold medals and 18 World Championship golds.
At the Rio Olympics, Lochte even admitted that without Phelps, well, he would be the Phelps of the world.
"My career would definitely be different," Lochte said. "I guess you would say I'd be like the Michael Phelps of swimming if he wasn't there."
Additionally, their personalities couldn't be different: Phelps, business-like and even-keeled vs. Lochte, the goofy party boy who admitted he tried to make swimming culture more light-hearted.
Now, however, Lochte says his attitude has changed.
"I'm a new person," Lochte told Peter. "I have a new fire. I'm not swimming just for myself.
"I'm swimming to prove everyone wrong, all the doubters out there, all the haters. And I'm doing it for my family and for myself."
Lochte failed to advance beyond prelims in the 200-meter freestyle at U.S. Olympic qualifiers on Monday. However, according to Yahoo's Ryan Young, Lochte is expected to swim in the 200-meter IM, which is his best shot to qualify for Tokyo.
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