The U.S. swimmer will serve a 14-month suspension for violating anti-doping rules by receiving an IV infusion.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced Monday that 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte has been suspended until July 2019.
The sanction comes after Lochte posted a photo of himself getting an intravenous infusion, a method that broke anti-doping rules and prompted an investigation into the swimmer. Lochte was not using a banned substance, according to the Associated Press, but anti-doping rules prohibit athletes from receiving IVs unless related to a hospitalization or through an exemption.
"I wasn't taking anything illegal. Everything was legal. You can get it at CVS, Walgreens, but there are rules, and you have to obey them," Lochte said in a press conference Monday afternoon, according to NBC's Nick Zaccardi.
The rules from the World Anti-Doping Agency state: "Intravenous infusions or injections in a volume greater than 100 mL within a 12-hour period are prohibited at all times – except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital treatment, surgical procedures, or clinical diagnostic investigations under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the Fédération Internationale de Natation Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List."
Lochte added that he still plans to train to swim in Tokyo 2020.
The 14-month ban, retroactive to May 24 when the investigation began. This marks Lochte's second suspension in less than two years following his 10-month suspension for his behavior during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Lochte will miss several top competitions including the national championships that start this week in California, the Pan Pacific Championships later this year, and next year’s world championships.