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So who is Ryan Lochte? Perhaps you've heard the comparisons to Jeff Spicoli, the spacey surfer of...

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So who is Ryan Lochte? Perhaps you've heard the comparisons to Jeff Spicoli, the spacey surfer of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and nodded knowingly when you saw the laid-back skateboard enthusiast interviewed poolside. Maybe you've seen him stride to the awards podium in the rhinestone-studded "Martian" green high-tops he helped Speedo design for him, or watched him hop up on the blocks at Grand Prix meets in a pink Speedo brief (also his design) that provides a stunning contrast to the black jammers worn by most of his competitors. Perhaps you've heard about his annual July 4 tradition of standing in a circle with his brother Devon and a few friends, lighting an arsenal of bottle rockets all at once and then standing still as the fireworks whoosh and dive around them—enduring the random nicks and burns because, he says, "it's crazy and fun." ("He likes to surf a lot too," sighs his mom, Ileana, speaking on the phone from Port Orange, Fla. "And we're shark-infested here.") Maybe you've summed up Ryan Lochte in one word: flake.

Sports Illustrated has a profile of Ryan Lochte in its current issue in advance of the 2011 World Swimming and Diving Championships, and while it treads some of the same old ground (Lochte? Flaky?), it's a good read.