Ryan Lochte Says He'd Be 'The Michael Phelps Of Swimming' If Phelps Wasn't There

Gotta sort of feel bad for the guy.

Olympic history would be very different in a world without Michael Phelps, and probably nobody knows that better than Ryan Lochte.

In a pre-hair dye interview released Thursday by NBC, Lochte shared a few thoughts on his stellar swimming career, which overlaps that of the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time.

“I guess you would say I’d be like the Michael Phelps of swimming if he wasn’t there,” Lochte said. “But at the same time I love a challenge, and that’s why I do the events that I do and going up against him is a challenge.”

Both swimmers say that they bring out the best in each other, but Lochte’s coach, David Marsh, had his own take.

“The most overshadowing thing has just been that he’s swimming at the same time as Michael Phelps,” Marsh told NBC. “He’s been in that role of pushing Michael. In reality, he’s not trying to push Michael. He’s trying to beat Michael.”

On Thursday night, Phelps and Lochte faced off for possibly the last time at the Olympics, with Phelps winning gold in the 200-meter individual medley. Lochte finished in fifth place.

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