Zap2it: What do you love about swimming?
Ryan Lochte: It’s just something where I could be having the worst day of my life, but once I step foot in that water, everything just disappears. I’m like one with the water. I’m like in my own world, and I just feel so comfortable, so natural. It just feels great.
Zap2it: Many Olympians describe the experience of winning their first gold medal as a blur. Was it that way for you?
Ryan Lochte: Pretty much. I think it just happened so fast, and when I was on the podium, I was like, “Wait, did this just really happen?” This is something I’ve dreamed about since I was like 8 years old, of getting a gold medal, and now it’s finally coming true. It was so surreal. It’s definitely something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Zap2it: What is your proudest moment — in or out of the pool?
Ryan Lochte: One of the things is definitely getting my first individual gold medal. … And another thing is, back in 2008, I worked for a charity, a parent project, muscular dystrophy, and every year they’ve tried to get this bill passed of getting more funding for muscular dystrophy [research]. And they went to the Congress, they went to Capitol Hill, talked with all the senators, and every year they’ve gotten denied. So I said, “Let me try.” So I went, I talked with all the senators, and before Obama took presidency, Bush signed the bill. And I think that was one of my proudest moments because I’m helping people; I’m changing people’s lives.