Ryan Lochte has been temporarily banned from swimming. Again.
The 12-time Olympic medalist was handed a 14-month suspension from competition by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Monday for getting intravenous therapy without an approved exemption. While the solution in the IV wasn’t a banned substance, Lochte’s use of intravenous infusions outside of a hospital or without the USADA’s OK was enough to earn a ban that will keep him from racing until July 2019.
To add insult to injury, USADA was only alerted to the violation when Lochte posted a photo of himself receiving the IV treatment at an infusion clinic to his Instagram account.
“A rule is a rule and I accept that there is a technical violation,” Lochte told the Associated Press after the decision. “I am hopeful that other athletes learn from my mistake ... I have never taken a prohibitive substance. I have never attempted to gain any advantage by putting anything illegal in my body. I would never do that; this is very serious to me. ... Unfortunately, while the rule is a newer rule and is not widely known as others, I should know better.
“It’s crazy to think about. I was back in top shape, I’ve been training every day, and now this.”
Lochte had been gearing up for the 2018 Summer Nationals, which begin July 25. Instead, he’ll miss that meet and likely the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, which will take place next July. He’ll still have the opportunity to earn his spot on USA Swimming’s roster for the 2020 Summer Olympics, where he’s already dedicated his swims to Nicholas Dworet, a victim of the mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The USADA ruling is Lochte’s second suspension from competition in the past two years. He was barred from the pool for 10 months after claiming he and three teammates had been robbed at gunpoint during the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His sensational story made global headlines, but Lochte soon recanted the story after security camera footage instead showed the intoxicated Olympian vandalizing a gas station and then dealing with local security guards. He was later charged with filing a false police report.