Ryan Lochte posted a photo for the world to see, and the US Anti-Doping Agency noticed. It got him suspended—again. The longtime US swimming star has been banned from competition until July 2019, which means the 12-time Olympic medalist cannot compete as planned in the national championships that start this week in California. Lochte will also be ineligible for other top meets, including the Pan Pacific Championships later this year and next year's world championships, the AP reports. "This is devastating," Lochte said. He did not take a banned substance. But he got an intravenous injection of vitamins in May—and since it exceeded 100 milliliters, no matter what was involved, he broke anti-doping rules. The 14-month ban, retroactive to May 24 and announced Monday by USADA, is his second in less than two years following his 10-month suspension for his behavior during a drunken incident that created widespread scorn at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Lochte said he took the IV because both his wife and his son were ill and had recently visited hospitals, and that he didn't want to get sick as well. He said the IV contained B-12 and other vitamins that could be purchased at any pharmacy. He and his wife both got IV infusions in Gainesville, Florida, he said, to bolster their immune systems. Lochte's violation came to light when he posted the photo of him getting the IV on his social media accounts. That triggered the USADA investigation, one that Lochte "fully cooperated" with according to US officials. "Lochte received an intravenous infusion of permitted substances at an infusion clinic," the USADA announcement of the suspension said. Under most circumstances, athletes cannot receive IVs unless related to a hospitalization or when allowed under the terms of a USADA-approved exemption—and Lochte fell into neither of those categories. "I've been swimming my whole life and I've been monitored by USADA for my entire competitive career," Lochte said. "I have never taken a prohibited substance. I have never attempted to gain any advantage over my competition by putting anything illegal in my body. I would never do that." Suspensions for use of an IV are extremely rare. (Read more Ryan Lochte stories.)