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Ryan Lochte's mother, Ileana "Ike" Lochte, tells NBC 6's Jackie Nespral how she hopes that he will design swimsuits for Speedo after her son's swimming career is done. "He really loves designing, he loves drawing, he loves just being out there," she says, adding that he is an abstract artist.
On Monday, the eight-time Olympic gold medalist in 2008 announced he will not try to duplicate his record Beijing haul. After dropping out of the 200-meter freestyle, he will swim in “only” seven events at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
This may serve Lochte very well, as the former Florida Gator now becomes the heavy favorite in the 200. He finished second to Phelps in the event during the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, losing by just five hundredths of a second.
Lochte will swim in at least five events of his own, including the 200-meter backstroke and the 400-meter individual medley, which he won during the trials. He’ll also go head to head against his rival in two events, setting up a much-anticipated showdown on the world’s biggest stage.
“It’s gonna be one of the biggest rivalries,” Lochte told NBC 6. “He’s a good guy. Just racing against him so many times, we’ve developed a good rivalry and a good friendship.”
That rivalry and friendship will play out on NBC’s cameras later this month when the Games return.
“What is cool about it is, no matter what the outcome is, if I beat him or he beats me, no matter what we’re still gonna be friends, and I think that’s definitely a great rivalry right there,” Lochte said.
Phelps will swim in the 200-meter and 400-meter medleys against Lochte, as well as the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly events and three relays. But Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, is concerned about his workload, advising him to pass on the 200-meter freestyle. The 400-meter freestyle relay is on the same day as the preliminaries and semifinals of the 200-meter free.
Lochte and Phelps traded jabs in the trials, with Lochte besting Phelps in two of five matchups in Omaha. The six-time Olympic medalist from Port Orange has put the world, and Phelps, on notice. He dominated the world championships in 2011, winning six medals and setting two world records.
London may turn out to be his official coming out party.
“I know I have a big target on my back now and I think that’s what is motivating me,” Lochte said.