Disclaimer: Blueseventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The blueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
Coming off a 2016-2017 season that featured a lengthy suspension and very little in the way of racing, Ryan Lochte‘s status as a U.S. National Team contender was still very much an enigma heading into this summer. The 33-year-old Lochte is one of the most-decorated swimmers in world history, but he’s battling age, rust and a promising group of American youngsters in his attempts to once again represent the United States internationally.
Many considered Lochte confined to perhaps just the 200 IM individually, but he put up an eye-popping 400 IM last week at the Mel Zajac International meet that made clear Lochte is still a force to be reckoned with in multiple events.
Lochte went 4:15.80 in that race, pushing him to #2 for the season among all Americans. It’s just his third 400 IM swim since the 2016 Olympic Trials, when he was passed up for the final Olympic spot in the closing meters by youngster Jay Litherland. Lochte’s 4:15 at Mel Zajac is his best in-season swim since January of 2016, when he went 4:12.6 at age 31.
Lochte continues to defy traditional age barriers in the event. The great Michael Phelps notably gave up the 400 IM after his first retirement in 2012, and never swam a single 400 IM at any age older than 27.
The 400 IM is a particularly punishing race, both in competition and in the brutal training it requires. In fact, other than Lochte himself in 2015 and 2016, no American man has ranked inside the top 50 nationally for any given season in the 400 meter IM past the age of 30 going back to the 1999 season. In ’99, a 32-year-old Ron Karnaugh ranked 11th with a 4:26.39.
Lochte should rank at least within the top 10 with his 4:15, even if he doesn’t go faster at U.S. Nationals. A top-2 finish there could keep Lochte on the top American travel squad in that event through August of 2019, when he’ll turn 35 years old. Lochte still says he’s shooting for an Olympic berth in 2020, and his in-season swimming is starting to back up that lofty goal.
WE MAKE SWIMMERS.
There isn’t a second that goes by when the team at blueseventy aren’t thinking about you. How you eat, breathe, train, play, win, lose, suffer and celebrate. How swimming is every part of what makes you tick. Aptly named because 70% of the earth is covered in water, blueseventy is a world leader in the pool and open water. Since 1993, we design, test, refine and craft products using superior materials and revolutionary details that equate to comfort, freedom from restriction and ultimately a competitive advantage in the water. This is where we thrive. There is no substitute and no way around it. We’re all for the swim.
Visit blueseventy.com/pages/swim to learn more.
blueseventy is a SwimSwam partner.