Lochte returns to competitive swimming with a bang

Vancouver, May 27 (IANS) A month into his return to serious training, US Olympian swimmer Ryan Lochte demonstrated he was on the right track over the weekend when he won four out of six races at the 2013 Mel Zajac Jr. International Canada Cup.

Against a top field of swimmers from around North America, Lochte, the holder of 11 Olympic medals and three world records, posted victories in 200m backstroke (1:59.56), 200m freestyle (1:52.27), 200m individual medley (2:00:15) and 100m freestyle (50:97), reports Xinhua.

In his other two events, 50m backstroke (26:52) and 100m backstroke (56:22), he was a close second, less than half a second behind the respective winners.

With the US trials to qualify for the world championships this July in Barcelona, Spain, upcoming, the Florida native felt his preparations were going in the right direction. At the last world championships in Shanghai in 2011, Lochte won five gold medals and a bronze.

"It feels good to get back in racing. You know this year's been a little shaky in my training so I'm kind of taking what I can get out of this year, but stepping up on the blocks and racing felt good," Lochte said Sunday.

"My overall performance this meet was pretty good, and I'm happy with it. I'm heading in the right direction leading up to the world trials. I know what I got to do and I still have a month to fix all the little things in my training and hopefully make that world team."

Lochte's celebrity in North America has exploded beyond swimming since the London Games as the 28-year-old has gained a new fan base from appearing in his own reality television series.

"Yeah, right now I've put the best training that I've had pretty much my whole entire life. So I'm happy going into world trials and you know it's just a matter of whether I make the team or not and I really think I can because the work that I've done in the past and the past month, I've done the best I can."

After winning four medals at the 2008 Beijing Games and another five medals in London, Lochte's long-term goal now is to be part of the US Olympic teams at the 2016 Rio Games.

If successful, he will be 32 at the Brazil Olympics in what would be his fourth Games. He believes he can do it with the proper training regime.

"When you get older, a lot of people, a lot of swimmers think you don't have to train as hard. But I mean it's not the case. You still have to put in that yardage. That's one thing I know how to do," he said.

Lochte now travels to California for the final event of 2012-2013 Grand Prix series next weekend in Santa Clara, followed by two weeks of preparation for the US trials in Indianapolis.

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