DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ryan Lochte, three-time Olympic gold medalist
swimmer and Daytona Beach native, will serve as Grand Marshal for the
first of two Gatorade Duel At Daytona 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday, Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway.
Lochte, who won his first gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and two more at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, will deliver the starting command “Drivers, start your engines” to begin the first Gatorade Duel.
Including his three gold medals, Lochte is a 12-time Olympic and World medalist. He currently holds the world record in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay as part of the American team and the world record for both the 200-meter and the 400-meter individual medley.
Lochte’s other career highlights include being named the 2010 FINA
Male Swimmer of the Year, USA Swimming’s 2009 Male Athlete of the Year
and winning a total of 57 medals spanning the Olympics, World, Pan
American, and Pan Pacific Championships.
“We are looking forward to welcoming one of Daytona Beach’s most
decorated athletes as Grand Marshal for the first Gatorade Duel,” said
Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. “His
achievements are inspiring to those around the world and are great
point of pride in the Daytona Beach community. We are honored to have
him play an integral part in the Gatorade Duel.”
Raised in Daytona Beach by parents that were swimmers, Lochte is a
graduate of nearby Spruce Creek High School and the University of
Florida, where competed under the direction of Coach Gregg Troy and
was the NCAA Swimmer of the Year twice, a seven-time NCAA champion and
a seven-time Southeastern Conference champion.
Aside from swimming, Lochte is very committed to charity outreach. He
supports Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and lobbied for the passing
of the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Care Act, which was signed by
President George W. Bush. He is also the spokesperson for the Mac
Crutchfield Fund, a local charity that provides scholarships to the
Special Olympics community in memory of the 12-year-old swimmer that
drowned during Tropical Storm Faye.
The Gatorade Duel At Daytona features two 150-mile, 60-lap races that
will finalize the starting lineup for NASCAR’s most prestigious race –
the 54th annual Daytona 500.
Tickets for Speedweeks 2012 events, including the 54th annual Daytona
500, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or
by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter
(www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook
(www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway) and fans can also
follow NASCAR (@NASCAR) and hashtags #NASCAR and #DAYTONA500.