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June 24, 2016

Ryan Lochte

David Marsh

Omaha, Nebraska

THE MODERATOR: All right. We're joined now by 11-time Olympic Medalist, Ryan Lochte, to my left, and to my far left is David Marsh, who is the head coach of SwimMAC Carolina and also the Head Women's Olympic Coach for the Rio Olympic Games. So I'm going to turn it over to Ryan for an opening statement, then David, and then we will open it up for questions.

RYAN LOCHTE: Hi, welcome. It's definitely good to be back in Omaha. I remember four years ago just the venue, the meet itself, it was definitely a thrill, so I'm definitely glad to be back in my top shape and, you know, just ready to rock 'n roll. It will be fun.

DAVID MARSH: All right. The last two Omaha meets have been the most exciting swimming events I've ever been to in my career in coaching, including all of the Olympic venues. No doubt Omaha will do it again. It's funny, thought, with the hat on as Head Olympic Coach, my epiphany has been that I -- that I'm really most interested in who gets first and second and what kind of team we assemble, and who gets top six in the 100 and 200 freestyle, what kind of team gets assembled there, and actually moving on to the next thing.

There was a photo of the Olympic pool this morning somewhere on Twitter, and I kinda grabbed that and after at least, if we have MAC swimmers make it, I'm going to be pushing that to them to remind them when this is over the mission really begins.

But the exciting thing for swimming in the United States is this has become a Mecca event. It becomes an event where everybody wants to be in swimming, and what's awesome is we also have people who aren't in swimming that want to be here, and one is we welcome all of you, but we also welcome folks to get in and understand our sport because the story of our sport is our people, and the journey, the struggle, the high points, and there will be a lot of high points and struggles to this meet.

So it's going to be a lot of fun this week with the ups and downs and emotions of an inherent event like an every-four-year event where you pick two people, and we're looking forward to it. The group we have at SwimMAC has done a great job in terms of this window in time, our preparation. Like Ryan says, the guys overall are in great shape. I just got a text from Jimmy Feigen saying he did some fast 50 back home, so they're all getting where they need to be right now, and I think emotionally, physically, even spiritually, I think they're bringing things together at a nice time and hopefully have a good meet here.

Q. For both of you but maybe David you could start. We've been hearing swimmers and Chuck talk about doping in certain sports. What has been your reaction to that coverage and what are you expecting on that front heading into Rio?
DAVID MARSH: I'm appreciative to Travis and the people who are stepping out in front and calling it like it is. We have someone that's really special in our group, Kirsty Coventry from Zimbabwe who is on the highest level IOC Commissions, and she has put her neck out there a little bit to demand as an athlete -- and the most effective form of cleaning up any sport, our sport specifically here today, is to have the athletes calling for, the athletes demanding it and the athletes following up on it.

So watching Kirsty travel the world, deal with the levels of meetings she has been dealing with at the IOC level has been a little bit enlightening, but it's also somewhat encouraging as well. We've a long way to go. We are not -- we are not at a point where we can say that there are no drugs in our sport, there's no cheaters in our sport, and I think until we do it's inherent that we all keep calling for it, and we all keep looking for ways to create a level, fair playing field of real human being performance.

I feel very good about the US Trials. I feel like this is a venue where we have people of the highest character and ethics, and I feel like we will have a very clean event here and we'll have, you know, a very level playing field -- a very exciting playing field but a very level one.

Q. I heard you had quite an eventful trip in town yesterday. I'm wondering if you could share that story and also if you could share the story of where you trained last night.
RYAN LOCHTE: Yeah so our trip yesterday, whoa. The day from --

DAVID MARSH: You were in first class.

RYAN LOCHTE: I was in first class, true, but, still, it was a long travel day. We were supposed to get here around 3 p.m., and we didn't end up getting here until midnight. We got rerouted to Kansas. David was able to find us a pool to train at in Kansas, and then after our training session we came and drove about three hours to Omaha.

It was a long day, but, you know, I think it was kinda good because it kinda got us out of other relevant -- like we weren't expecting it, David was always saying to us throughout the year, prepare yourself for the worst, and that's just one thing that we were able to overcome, so now we can just really get ready for the next couple of days.

Q. (No microphone.)
DAVID MARSH: It was an oxygen issue, which is, I guess, a big issue! (Laughter.) It's funny as soon as the oxygen issue happened, Katie Meili and I were talking about we both -- I had this sensation like, yeah, I do feel kinda faint, and she said she had the same sensation, but not until the announcement, so it probably was fine. But the reality was first they were going to land in St. Louis, which would have been a lot worse, because a six-hour drive wouldn't have been acceptable, we might have had to stay in a hotel over night.

We flew at 10,000 feet, so it was a slow fight, a low flight, and then they put it down in Kansas City. I called Gardner Howland, who is the coach of the Kansas City Blazers, and asked him where the best place to swim at would be. Platte County "Y" a brand new YMCA pool had us there, and it was funny, we got there, the lifeguards and the folks had no idea who we were.

We just were going into the YMCA pool, and one of the lap swimmers, said, "Gosh they're moving through the water awfully fast, and I was like, "Yeah, they're pretty good," and then I started naming off everybody, and they were like, "Holy S-H-I" -- so he figured it out, but it was actually interesting that you said that, Ryan, that it was somewhat of a -- I could say even a positive diversion.

It created a lot of conversation in the car, and it was about a three-hour drive to get in here. Fortunately we beat the game getting out so there wasn't a traffic issue getting in, so it was fine. The ride from Kansas City to here is pretty much a straight line, and you don't take many turns, so it's pretty easy on 29.

Q. (No microphone.)
DAVID MARSH: No, we had -- we got two vehicles -- when they said they were going to load us on buses. They said they were going to load us on busses, and we were like, oh, no, we can't do that, that big group bus going 55 miles an hour, so we rented two vehicles and grabbed some Jimmy John's after we swam and made it down here. It's fine, everything is -- it is true, it will happen in Brazil, probably more than most Olympics. Things are going to happen that you just need to be ready for, and you need to be relaxed and roll with things, and we've done that. The guys looked good in the water this morning, so we're up and going.

Q. Ryan, you fully embraced the return of the 400 IM, and what does it take mentally and physically to do that at your advanced age!
RYAN LOCHTE: Advanced age? Wow! (Laughter.)

DAVID MARSH: Seasoned!

RYAN LOCHTE: Seasoned, yeah. I guess it's no -- I tried to hide it all year but I guess since Trials is two days away I'm definitely swimming the 400 IM. It will be a fun event. It's one of the hardest event in the sport of swimming and that's why I love that event. I enjoy it because you can't be great in one stroke, you have to be good in everything, and it's a challenge. I'm definitely up for it, and there's a lot of young guys up and coming that will definitely be a good battle. I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Q. David, you have a couple swimmers who potentially could go up against a Russian woman what has twice failed -- or failed drug tests. Given what we know about the systemic doping in Russia, how do you feel about the Russian swimmers competing in Rio?
DAVID MARSH: Well, I would love to have all the clean Russians swim in Rio, so I've -- yeah, I think there is systemic, but that's not the only nation that has had patterns of behavior that seem to go beyond the norm, so I think into the future, and hopefully now is the future, we're going to have to take some risk on being more aggressive for the demonstration of patterns, and I don't know if the powers that be will do that.

I really don't get a say at the table other than right now in the media setting, so no doubt in my mind that somebody that's been tested twice positive during this window of time, I don't see how would be allowed to swim in the Games but, again, as we all know there is a lot of politics at play in everything in high-level sports when money is involved, when all the international -- all the nations kinda come together like this. This is not new news. I think the new documentary (The Last Gold) that will be coming out will expose truly what happened in the -- and what happened since the '76 team and the women's team just were completely done wrong, and they still don't have their medals right now, which is crazy, so there's a -- I hope what we can do is call for the next level of enforcement and that enforcement is going to involve investigation.

It's not just going to involve testing what's in their blood and urine. These guys have been tested more this year -- and as we said all along, the athletes have called for more testing, the coaches have called for more testing, so they have been tested a lot more, and unfortunately his tester usually shows up at 5 a.m., which isn't ideal (Chuckles.) But it's -- we have to embrace it and -- but the job isn't just testing, also there has to be investigating as well, and certainly when it walks like a duck and squawks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

Q. Ryan, you mentioned you're definitely swimming the 400 IM. What can you say about the rest of your event schedule, specifically that double on days 5 and 6, specifically the 200 Back and 200 IM?
RYAN LOCHTE: I'm going to take each day at a time. I'm entered in a lot of events but right now all I can say is that I'm swimming the 400 IM, and I'll keep you guys guessing on what I'm going to do the next day.

DAVID MARSH: I will say he pushed off a 27.1 today in the 50 Back in warm-up today, so his backstroke looked awfully good.

RYAN LOCHTE: Hint, hint.

Q. One more. Ryan, let's get back on doping. We didn't get to hear -- I will ask you bluntly because Elizabeth Beisel said she is not confident that Rio will be a totally clean swimming competition. Do you think it will be totally clean? What's your thoughts?
RYAN LOCHTE: I mean, I can only hope that it will be, just because I know that I've been tested -- for me personally I've been tested more than I've ever been tested --

RYAN LOCHTE: I've been tested more than I've ever been tested, this year, and I think it's good for the sport, testing more swimmers, more athletes, and all I can say about myself is I'm clean.

I just hope that everyone else stays on that track, they test more athletes and they just try to make the sport cleaner.

Q. How much talk has there been about it? Katie said it is a topic of discussion when you see a whole, like, nation's track team being band from the Olympics and the positive tests and Sun Yang and some of the stuff that's gone on with swimmers. How much of a discussion is there and is it a concern for becoming a distraction as you head -- if you're worried about the person next to you. It's kind of like when we had swimsuits, now you're worried when you're getting up on the block thinking, is this person I'm swimming against clean?
RYAN LOCHTE: You know, I don't really focus on that. I focus on myself, and I rely on the training I've done, the work I've done, and I don't worry about the other swimmers, whether they're doping or cheating in some kind of way. I just kinda focus on myself, and whether they're doping or not it's going to -- it's going to be a battle in order to beat me. That's all I can do.

Q. (No microphone.)
DAVID MARSH: Yeah, the athletes need to control controllables. They can't control that but coaches and -- absolutely I'm -- it's the biggest threat to who should win the medals. It's the biggest threat to the integrity of the Games, so that topic is a serious topic, and I am glad to hear that there has been a serious response to that so far. I hope there is even more serious responses and serious testing, not just testing to say you tested, but testing the right things that are likely to get picked up that will give an advantage to an athlete in that event.

So there is a whole kind of panel of what that looks like, too, and I'm really -- it will affect the women more than the men as we've seen historically. Men get affected some; women with a little bit of extra testosterone, it's a giant advantage; it's a complete game changer.

I just -- I will do what I can to ask that anybody in that position accept that position with the highest levels of accountability with the athletes ultimately in mind that we want a clean and fair Olympic Games and Olympic Trials, also.

Q. Ryan, obviously you're going to be competing here in front of a sold-out crowd here in Omaha. We want to know kind of what the atmosphere is like for you to be here in front of all these fans?
RYAN LOCHTE: I mean, it's insane, and from what I hear all the seats are sold out, and that is amazing, because, you know, what I want to do in the sport of swimming is I want to change the sport. I want to make it bigger than what it was in 2012. Hearing the seats are sold out is amazing! It's going to be loud, it's going to be crazy. The last couple Olympic Trials we had fireworks, we had fire. I mean, it's unbelievable. You're going to see definitely a lot of fast racing, a lot of fast swims, and it's unbelievable.

It's probably one of the most exciting swimming events, ever!

Q. You've been here before. What is your favorite thing to do in Omaha? Do you have a favorite thing?
RYAN LOCHTE: You know, what I travel or when I go to swim meets I usually just see the swimming pool and my hotel. I'm definitely going to catch up on some movies in between sessions, and I will be eating a lot of Jimmy John's.

Q. Ryan, what is the biggest challenge for you making the Olympic Team in your fourth Olympic Trials than in your first? Four Olympic Trials ago, I think.
RYAN LOCHTE: I guess the biggest thing is definitely going to be when I was younger I was able to recover a lot quicker, so all those events that I was doing I was able to recover really quick. I think that's the biggest thing that's going to be my biggest factor is this meet, especially my first day, the 400 IM, I'm definitely going to have to do a lot more recovery after the race than I usually do, just so I can have those great races the next days. So that is definitely going to be the biggest thing.

Q. Looks like one last go-round with Michael, head-to-head. He's been your biggest rival over the years. You two say you feed off each other so much. How much are you looking forward to that, and do you have a different appreciation for the rivalry that you have fostered knowing now that it is coming to an end?
RYAN LOCHTE: I kinda don't want to think it's coming to an end, just because, since, what, 2003 we have been racing against each other. It's just been so much fun, and it made the sport that much better. I mean, people -- just us pushing each other and having, like, close races between each other, it brought a lot of people outside the sport into it, just watching.

So it definitely was really good for the sport, but racing against him is -- I mean, is an honor. He's one of the world's greatest swimmers, ever! And for me to be a part of that era and to be able to, like, push him or even sometimes beat him, it's definitely an honor, and it's fun.

So even if this is our last go-round together, we will definitely make it count.

Q. Ryan, I have a question about the 400 IM. You said that you will be going up against many young guys, and can you tell us who you consider as your biggest opponents among those young guys, whether they are within the United States or in the world?
RYAN LOCHTE: I think the 400 IM is more of -- I mean, you have to be tough. You have to be able to train all four strokes. I think my biggest opponent will be myself, just because you have to have a certain mind-set when you get up on those blocks, especially for the 400 IM, and if my mind-set is right, I'm definitely going to do really well, but as far as other athletes, I mean, in the US alone we have had, what, four or five guys that go under 4:13, so it's definitely going to be a close race.

Right now I'm not really worried about the rest of the world. I gotta still make the Olympic Team, so I gotta worry about the next two days, worry about me and just racing the other US guys.

Q. Ryan if recovery is the toughest thing for you right now, why swim the 400 IM when that's the toughest race to recover from? Why not save yourself for the shorter races later in the week?
RYAN LOCHTE: I could, but then it wouldn't be fun! (Chuckles.) For me fun is a challenge. I love having a challenge. You know, the 400 IM, especially how old I am, it's definitely -- and how fast other young swimmers are it's going to be a challenge, but that's exciting and that's why I love the sport. It's exciting.

DAVID MARSH: Karen, if I can answer that, too, the context of the conversations that we've had, he's one of the guys in the United States that has four great strokes. He's capable of this race and he's -- when he swims at speeds in the 400 IM, his strokes come easy; they're on point. When he tries to go down to 100, that's when it's more of a -- he has to force things a little bit more.

He's very natural at swimming at the speeds of 400 IM, and the challenge was to really get him into the fitness level that he needed to be in to really do the event.

Dr. Batley, our team doctor, has been amazed at some of his -- like when he does his blood panels on how he recovers, so he has a pretty incredible physiological response to stress and recovery. So he's got one of the -- one of the secret gifts of Ryan is that he has a physiological ability to recover, and certainly as you hear him right now, I think a lot of the key is -- like Katie Meili was in the car yesterday ashing him almost that same exact question yesterday, when we were driving from Kansas City to here, she asked him that, and he said, "I just like to race, I like to race!"

The other point is the US needs -- that's a medal position for the USA, and if he's the best guy to have on the blocks for the USA, then he ought to be the guy we try to have on the blocks, and if he's not, then we will know in a couple days.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, everybody.

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