Should Ryan Lochte Be Allowed To Swim At U.S. Masters Nationals?

Written and courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

Theres a debate with swimmers, parents and fans on whether Ryan Lochte should be allowed to swim at the 2017 U.S. Masters Swimming Spring National Championship, April 27 – 30 in Riverside, CA. The reason for the debate goes back to sanctions against him from the 2016 Rio Olympics. This would be Lochte’s return to swimming although hes still ineligible to compete at 2017 U.S. Nationals.

When you bring up Ryan Lochtes name you hear a lot of opinions. Do you think its okay for U.S. Masters to allow Ryan Lochte to swim at their Spring Nationals short course meet? Or, should they follow USA Swimmings spirit of the sanction and ban him?

Ill be swimming at this meet with swimmers ages 18 through 95and Ive swam for less than two years in my life. Im nervous and excited to be at a meet with Ryan Lochte. I think its great publicity to have someone of his caliber at a Masters meetalong with fellow Olympian Nathan Adrian. Im looking forward to bragging to my kidswho are swimmersthat I swam at a meet with Ryan Lochte.

Because Lochte is not eligible to swim in the U.S. Nationals, he cannot qualify for the World Championships later this year. Should he be allowed to compete at all? What does Lochte have to gain by swimming at a U.S. Masters meet? What would he lose by not competing?

I conducted an informal survey with swimmers and swim parents. It was close to 90 percent that he should be allowed to swim, but there were strong feelings on both sides of the issue.

What is your opinion on Lochte swimming at the U.S. Masters meet? Should Lochte swim or not swim?

Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog:

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Heck yes. He might final in a few events.


I don’t know if USMS can arbitrarily ban him, but I think Ryan showed poor judgement by entering this meet. I personally don’t mind if he swims this event. But, looking at the larger picture, I have to ask, what does he stand to gain by beating up on a bunch of amateur weekend warriors, and how could that possibly be worth the potential bad PR of appearing to skirt his competition ban?


You’re telling me that if you and Phelps are entered in a USMS meet, swim the 100 IM, compete in the same heat…and clearly he would win by a lot….you’d be upset with that? I’m willing to bet it would be a fun story to tell in the future and you’d put a positive spin on it.

Same with Lochte….guy is an Olympic champ and WR holder.


I said, I personally don’t mind that he swims. I think it’s awesome when one of the elites comes down to our level and swims with us. I was at a Masters meet a little over a week ago where Mike Alexandrov swam the 100 breast, 2 lanes over from his father, also an Olympian. Maybe the coolest Masters heat I’ve seen in my life!

I’m just saying the potential cost vs potential benefit equation for Ryan doesn’t add up in my mind. What’s there to gain? What’s the potential backlash?


He needs to test his shape and compete at a meet. He will be there to gain boost of confidence just being in the water competing again. There’s nothing like this feeling. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about giving the guy a chance to come back. He’s a swimmer and he needs to compete. Easy.


Exactly – GARYP seemed to not understand that perspective at all . But there it is ….


I’d say let him swim. He’s never going to be competitive at the highest level again so why not let his comeback be with the USMS as that’s the only home he’ll have going forward. Waste of talent, that guy.

Marlan McElroy

He’s arguably the second fastest swimmer next to phelps! He has swam thousands of meets. He doesn’t need a confidence booster what he needs is to wait until after his suspension to show that he has character. He got himself into this now he needs to face his consequences and not try and bob and weave his way out of not being allowed to swim. Just let the suspension past he’s still Ryan lochte.

California Girl

I was at a masters meet a few weeks ago, where I saw Matt Biondi race 100 free against his own kid. It was fun to watch! I also watched a 95-yr-old woman dive off the blocks. How is that not inspiring.

And as for that person’s “weekend warrior” comment… I have a full-time job and 2 kids and still manage to swim 5 days a week.

Ryan Lochte and anyone else who enjoys our sport is welcome to come to nationals as far as I’m concerned.

jim O\'

and was a liar to cover up his crap. Couldn’t stand up to what he did, blamed others.

Carl Millholland

Please. Masters Swimmers are all adults, and most of us have done one or two dumb things in our lives–just not in the spotlight of international sports. We can handle it. USA Swimming, yeah, I can see that, but Masters swimmers don’t look for role models as much as camaraderie.


Any one who has gotten drunk and stupid at least once in their life shouldn’t go to the meet. If that was the case, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of people at the meet.
Let him swim.


I can’t believe this is even being discussed honestly.
Let him swim. He made a mistake, apologized many times, and hopefully will learn from it.


And let’s not forget, most of what he said about that night in Rio actually squares up with the truth. I agree. Time to move on.

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