12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte has suffered a torn meniscus. Lochte and his wife, Kayla Lochte, each posted on their Instagram accounts this morning, saying that Ryan has undergone a successful surgery to repair the torn cartilage.
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In Kayla’s post, she seems to indicate that Lochte tore his meniscus playing on an inflatable water slide with his children. We don’t know that this was the water slide in question, however, Lochte did post a video of himself going down an inflatable water slide on his IG account 3 weeks ago.
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Lochte, 36, competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, where he qualified for finals in the men’s 200 IM, but finished 7th, falling short of qualifying for his 5th Olympic Games. He also raced the 200 free, finishing 25th in prelims. Lochte sat for a press conference following the 200 IM final, in which he stated that while he was disappointed with the swim, he was at peace with the results.
Here is an excerpt from that press conference:
I think I’ve said this millions of times, I will quit swimming when I stop having fun. I love this sport. It’s gotten me to places that I have never — that people dream about. So I’m very grateful for that. I’m still having fun, I’m finding different ways of making swimming fun again. I still want to race, but as far as another Olympic Trials, I don’t know about that. I will be 40. That’s pushing it. We’ll see. Anything can happen. I could take years off and come back and be stronger than ever, who knows.
His answer from that press conference seems to indicate that Lochte intends to continue racing as long as he’s enjoying it. The meniscus tear will be a setback to his swimming, but after Trials, Lochte also spoke about how he now feels the relief of getting to race with no expectations placed on him.
While Lochte was hesitant in committing to the 2024 Olympic Trials, there are plenty of other racing opportunities where we may see him compete, if he does in fact continue to race. The TYR Pro Swim Series meets seem like a likely candidate, for example. As far as the setback caused by Lochte’s torn meniscus, it’s not the first physical setback he’s experienced recently. In August of 2020, exactly a year ago, Lochte had to undergo appendix surgery.
Lochte also has a history of knee injuries. In 2013, he experienced a knee injury wherein he tore his MCL and sprained his ACL after trying to save a fan who had tripped while approaching him. Before that, he experienced minor knee injuries resulting from a scooter crash in 2011. He also had training interruptions throughout 2010 due to knee pain/injury.
As for his career accomplishments, Lochte is a 4-time Olympian, and a 12-time Olympic medalist. He has won 6 gold, 3 silver, and 3 bronze medals across the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics. He’s also won 27 LC World Championships medals, and 38 SC World Champs medals. Lochte is the current World Record-holder in the men’s LCM 200 IM, with a time of 1:54.00. His rivalry with Michael Phelps in the 200 IM was legendary.
Lochte has also served 2 suspensions during his career: one for an infamous incident at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and the other for an anti-doping rules violation in 2018. He came back from the latter suspension in excellent form. In his first race after returning from his suspension, a 34-year-old Lochte won the US National Title in the 200 IM at the 2019 U.S. Summer Nationals meet. His time of 1:57.76 ranked him 12th in the world for 2019.