Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte is finishing his preparations for this weekend’s US Open Championships (he’ll be at the Sarasota site), and showed off on Tuesday with a 23.37 underwater 50 dolphin kick from a push.
While we’ve seen faster underwater 50 meter kicks (like this one from Mitchell Whyte), from a push this is a very fast time. By comparison, at a meet in 2015, when Lochte was 5 years younger and closer to the prime of his swimming career, he underwater-kicked just 23.49 at a Sectionals meet in the 50 free.
Lochte did the kick mostly on his back. He’s said before that he feels like he kicks faster underwater on his back – which was the impetus for the “Lochte rule” that prevents swimmers from kicking on their backs on the freestyle leg of an IM race.
Lochte is entered in 5 races for the Sarasota meet of the US Open: the 200 IM, 200 free, 100 back, 200 back, and 100 free. His coach Gregg Troy is notorious for over-entering swimmers and then scratching their way back to a planned schedule, so we don’t know for sure what races he’ll swim.
Lochte is working on a comeback from a 14-month suspension caused by an anti-doping rules violation. In his first meet back, the US National Championships last summer, he swam a 1:57.88 in a time trial followed by a 1:57.76 in the actual 200 IM event. Those were his best times since the 2016 Olympic Games by over a second and ranked him 12th in the world.
Lochte has 12 Olympic medals, including 6 of which are gold, and is the current World Record holder in the 200 IM.