Ryan Lochte finishes fifth in first USA Swimming race since suspension – USA TODAY
A Brazilian appellate court has dismissed a criminal charge against American swimmer Ryan Lochte, who claimed he was robbed during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (AP) — In his first USA Swimming-sanctioned event after a 10-month suspension for his behavior at Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Ryan Lochte finished fifth in the men’s 100-meter backstroke final with a time of 55.16 seconds Saturday at the U.S. Open.
Arkady Vyatchanin was first with a time of 53.91, followed by Christopher Reid (54.54), Xavier Mohammed (54.62) and Brock Bonetti (54.99) ahead of Lochte, who qualified for the finals by placing seventh in the preliminary meet with a time of 55.59 seconds.
Matthew Josa (55.38), Hennessey Stuart (55.38) and Clark Beach (55.48) rounded out the heat. All eight swimmers stood on the podium after the race.
Lochte will swim in the 200 intermediate medley Sunday, where where he is the top seed. The week-long event, held at the Nassau County Aquatic Center, is serving as Lochte’s first recognized competitive meet following an incident at the Rio Olympics.
After a night out with teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen, Lochte had claimed in an interview with NBC that the taxi the swimmers were in had been pulled over and the athletes were robbed at gunpoint. In a subsequent interview with NBC, Lochte said he “over-exaggerated” the incident.
However, Brazilian authorities citing videotape evidence revealed the swimmers were confronted by security personnel after destroying a gas station bathroom.
Lochte eventually posted a mea culpa on his Twitter account.
Last September, USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee announced Lochte was suspended for 10 months and would be fined $100,000 for his role, which cost him sponsorships with Speedo, Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal.
A Brazilian appellate court in July dismissed criminal charges against Lochte, saying he did not break the law because the swimmer’s claims to NBC were not equal to filing a false police report
Lochte has said he is eyeing a spot on the 2020 Olympic team. The 33-year old has won six Olympic gold medals, three silver medals and three bronze medals while representing the U.S. in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics. He would turn 36 during the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo.