Lochte to swim at US nationals after 14-month ban

Ryan Lochte signs autographs after competing in the finals of the men’s 100-metre backstroke at a swim meet in Mesa, Arizona, April 2016. (AFP pic)

SAN FRANCISCO: Six-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Ryan Lochte, fresh off a 14-month suspension, will make his return to competition at next week’s American national championships, USA Swimming announced Thursday.

Lochte, who has 12 Olympic medals overall to make him the most decorated active American swimmer, will take part in six events at the five-day meet which begins Wednesday in Palo Alto, California.

Lochte, 34, has served two bans since claiming his most recent Olympic crown in 2016 at Rio as a member of his fourth consecutive 4x200m US freestyle relay championship lineup.

His claim to have been robbed by armed men aroused an international controversy and led to a 10-month ban in 2016 and 2017.

Then he received a 14-month suspension from the US Anti-Doping Agency after a prohibited intravenous infusion, caught after using social media to hype the infusion. That ban ended this week.

Lochte finished in 10th place on this year’s edition of the US television reality show competition Celebrity Big Brother. He has also sought treatment for alcohol addiction during his most recent suspension.

Lochte, who would turn 36 during next year’s Tokyo Olympics, also won Olympic gold in the 200m backstroke in 2008 at Beijing and 400m individual medley in 2012 at London.