CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Even with a cap and goggles, it's hard not to notice Ryan Lochte. Take him out of the pool, and apparently, it's even harder to miss him.
"People are recognizing me. They're like, 'you're Ryan Lochte. Nice to meet you!' I like it," Lochte told me after a practice at Queens University with SwimMAC's Team Elite.
Lochte is in Charlotte, training with SwimMAC CEO and head coach David Marsh, making another push for Olympic gold, this time in Rio.
He says he came here because of Marsh's reputation, coaching style and success, but also with advice from his longtime friend and Olympic teammate Cullen Jones.
"I told him there are going to be days you'll be like, 'Ryan go back to Florida,'" he laughed as he and Jones talked after Wednesday's practice.
Lochte is an eleven time Olympic medalist and has more than a million twitter followers. He's been on the cover of magazines and is considered a celebrity in athletic and social circles. But his appeal in the water, says Marsh, is his comfort in the water.
"He's fishlike," said Marsh.
"I've studied him under the water for years. He's unique. I think it's that relationship with the water," said Marsh.
"I'm 29. I'm single. I want to do something different. I want a new chapter in my swimming career," said Lochte.
"Coming here so far has been good. The practices are different, variety for me is good. It keeps me going. Keeps me motivated each day. It keeps that smile on my face," he said.