Lochte, who was bidding to become the oldest American male swimmer on an Olympic team, sought out his wife, Kayla Rae Reid, and their son and daughter, Caiden and Liv, who were seated behind the starting blocks.
He held Liv in his arms and took in the spirited scene at the CHI Health Center as if committing it to memory.
After he returned his daughter to the stands, Lochte locked eyes with his good friend and greatest rival, Michael Phelps, who had made his way to the pool deck from a seat in the broadcast booth, where he had provided analysis of the race.
For more than a decade, Lochte played the foil to Phelps, pushing him to several of his 28 Olympic medals. Lochte has 12 medals, including six golds. The two raced in the Olympics in six individual finals, the last of which was the 200 I.M. at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and five times Lochte finished behind Phelps. The exception was the 400 I.M. at the 2012 Olympics, where Lochte captured the gold and Phelps finished fourth.