Excerpts from 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte’s interview with The Observer’s Scott Fowler:
Q. You have been sighted at a number of places around town. How long have you been in Charlotte now?
A. So far, I’ve been here for a week. (Monday) was my first practice. It was different. But I think change is something that’s really important, especially when you’re an elite athlete. You need change. You need variety.
I chose this place and I’m loving it so far.
Q. There were rumors that you were going to train all over the globe before the 2016 Olympics – some in Charlotte, some in Los Angeles, some in Australia or elsewhere out of the country. Is that true?
A. There’s been a lot of talk about me going overseas to train. And honestly my swimming – it started here in the U.S. and I’m going to finish it here. I’m not going to go overseas. I’m going to train here (in Charlotte) and do that. Being at the University of Florida, it was just time for a change. I wanted to come here. David Marsh – he helped me out back in 2004 with my strokes back in my first Olympics. I’ve already seen what he’s done and what he’s capable of doing.
Q. You and fellow Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones of SwimMAC are big buddies. Are you going to room together in Charlotte?
A. I have my own place right now. I’m not going to move in with him. He’s my best friend, but I want to live by myself. I’ve always had a roommate my whole entire life – my family growing up and in college I had roommates. So now I’m on my own. ... And he’s pretty much right down the hallway. We’re living in the same complex.
Q. Was there any fallout from this decision you have made with University of Florida coach Gregg Troy, who has guided your career both in college and beyond for more than a decade?
A. No, not at all. He knew it was time for me to change. He’s been my coach for almost 12 years. He knows I can’t stay at the University (of Florida) for that much longer. It’s too much for me. I’m becoming too big. I needed a change.
He knows in my swimming and in my training, I need a variety. ... I get bored real quick. In this first practice (in Charlotte), we did things I’ve never done before in practice. I was just like, ‘Wow, this is awesome.’ I’m loving it. This is definitely one of the smartest decisions I’ve made.