Ryan Lochte Diving Head First Into The Open Water
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
With U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials starting this week in Omaha, Nebraska, the most pressure-packed competitive swimming meet in America will result in the selection of American Olympic swimmers for the Tokyo Olympics starting on July 23rd.
While Jordan Wilimovsky, Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, they will be in Omaha also trying to qualify for the 800m and 1500m freestyle events in the pool.
But there will be one more very intriguing Olympian on a remarkable comeback in Omaha. All eyes will be on Ryan Lochte. Will the 36-year-old be able to qualify for his fifth consecutive Olympic Games?
The 12-time Olympic medalist is tapering for a typically tough schedule in Omaha. He told fellow gold medalist Mel Stewart about his US Olympic Trials schedule, “At this point, with all of the work I’m doing? 400 and 200 IM, 200 back, 200 free, 100 fly…”
But he also has other things on his mind and in his plans: open water swimming.
Rob Kent, president and founder of the Global Swim Series, announced the partnership between Lochte and the Global Swim Series. “As a full partner with the GSS, Ryan is going to be involved with everything. He will do the ongoing Race The Legends – Virtual series, starting today. Then he will be doing several actual GSS Race The Legends races throughout the year and around the world.”
While those races where one of the greatest swimmers in history have not yet been announced, the open water swimming community just added one colorful and fast swimmer.
Image above is courtesy of Universal Sports, taken of Lochte streamlining off the wall on his side at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. While Lochte will start competing in the open water, his innovative body surfing technique (side streaming) in the pool was ruled illegal by FINA back in 2015. Similar to Sydney Olympics 200m butterfly champion Misty Hyman who used a similar side dolphin technique in 2000, and Olympians Ky Hurst and Aaron Peirsol who also use the side dolphining technique while body surfing into shore (legally) at every ocean event, Lochte went on his back and side to gain some additional momentum during his 200m individual medley gold medal performance at the 2015 FINA World Championships.
While FINA ruled that Lochte cannot go on his side off the walls, Lochte will focus on the pool and kicking off the new Global Swim Series Race The Legends (RTL) format. Kent explains, “This RTL format will allow swimmers from all over the world to participate in Virtual and Actual Races with many of the greatest swimmers of all time in select GSS open water races locations around the globe.
Imagine being invited to play 3-on-3 basketball with Michael Jordan and Steph Curry. How about tossing the football around with Tom Brady and Joe Montana. Or maybe some tennis with Raphael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, and John McEnroe. Maybe stepping onto the ice to play some pickup hockey with Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr. Would you be in shape to play some soccer with Ronaldo, Messi, and David Beckham. Unfortunately, it will probably never happen. But if you are a swimmer, you will now be able to Race The Legends.
Ryan Lochte is a legend in the sport of swimming. The second most decorated Olympic swimmer of all time, with 12 medals, including 6 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze, has won 91 medals in major international competitions with 39 world championship titles, multiple world records and multiple Swimmer of the Year awards.
The goal of the GSS is to promote and grow swimming around the world. This is done by offering a fun, healthy, competitive, and adventurous race experience for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Ryan is the perfect swimmer and personality to exemplify competitive, fun, and adventurous swimming.
Now, with Race The Legends, swimmers will be able to collect their GSS points by participating in GSS Virtual Races and GSS Actual Races. Swimmers can then use the points at RTL Races where they can swim against the Legends. The points will be used to qualify for prizes related to the Legends. Swimmers could qualify for various tiers of prizes, from autographed memorabilia, to meeting the Legends in person, to even having dinner with all the Legends. The first ever GSS Virtual – Race The Legends has just opened up today and swimmers can now register here.
We are so excited to kick off our 7th season with an announcement of this magnitude. It is a good day when one of the greatest swimmers of all time joins your team. And having Ryan kick off Race The Legends will be incredible. It is a dream for all of us at GSS and will be a thrill for swimmers around the world.
There has never been anything like this in any sport. But in swimming, the Legends are out there, and they deserve the publicity and recognition that other sports legends get, and we want to give it to them. All while thrilling the swimmers beyond belief. People do truly crave life experiences and I can think of nothing better than this for a swimmer.”
Registration for the inaugural Race The Legends is here. Enter RTL Race #1 in the 1 km, 1 mile, 3.8 km, 5 km or 10 km for US$20 between June 1st – 15th.
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