Photograph By Marco Grob for ESPN The Magazine
Why we chose him: Yes, he's got the looks. But toughness? That, too.
Take it from his dad: "When Ryan set the 200-meter backstroke world record at the 2007 world championships, he did it with a broken foot. He'd busted it skateboarding, then rebroke it jumping into the pool four days before the event. Still, he won gold in the 800 free relay and silver in the 100-meter backstroke, 200 IM and 400 IM. Every flip turn was excruciating, but he never made a big deal about it." --Steve Lochte, Father