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Ryan Lochte was the last one to climb out from the pool, and the second to last to finish the race in the 200 IM at the U.S. swimming trials Friday night.
The 36-year-old Lochte’s bid for a fifth Olympics ended with a seventh-place finish.
Michael Andrew, 14 years younger than Lochte, swam to victory by going under the world-record pace of 1:55.44, ESPN reports. Chase Kalisz, who already had won the 400 individual medley at these trials, claimed another Olympic event by finishing next in 1:56.97.
Lochte finished far behind at 1:59.67 — nearly 6 seconds off the world record he still holds, a time of 1:54.00 from the 2011 world championships in the prime of his career.
Lochte is a 12-time Olympic medalist, and a winner of 27 medals at world championships, and appeared to recognize that his legacy was greatly impacted by the claims he made of a robbery near the end of the Rio Summer Games in 2016.
“I really wanted to be on this Olympic team,” Lochte said. “This is probably my most important swim meet that I’ve ever had in my entire career, the one that meant the most to me. So falling short and feeling like I let everyone down was one of the hardest things.”
Lochte won’t have a chance for redemption in Tokyo, and didn’t go as far as saying his swimming days are over, but ESPN reports this was surely his last realistic shot at the Olympics.
Even though the Paris Games are just three years away, Lochte will be approaching his 40th birthday when France takes over the hosting duties.
“I still want to race, but as far as another Olympic trials, I don’t know about that,” Lochte said. “I’ll be [almost] 40. That’s pushing it.”
The 22-year-old winner, Michael Andrew, did call him a legend, though.
“He’s a legend in the water,” Andrew said. “He’s done some incredible things. To share the pool with him is always an honor.”