Twelve-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte says he is “devastated” by his 14-month ban for a doping violation.
The 33-year-old American has been sanctioned by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) for an intravenous infusion.
While Lochte was not using a banned substance, athletes cannot usually receive IVs unless related to a hospitalization or via an exemption.
Lochte posted a photo of himself on social media receiving the IV which prompted an investigation.
He told a news conference: “A rule is a rule and I accept there is a technical violation.
“I wasn’t taking anything that was banned or prohibited. I am hopeful other athletes learn from my mistake.”
In 2016, Lochte – the second most decorated US swimmer behind Michael Phelps – was banned from the sport for 10 months after falsely claiming he was robbed at gunpoint during the Rio Olympic Games.
The six-time Olympic champion said he and three team-mates were held up at a petrol station during a night out.
But police questioned the account after CCTV footage showed the group had vandalized the petrol station.
His latest ban runs until July 2019 having been backdated to 24 May, the date he received the prohibited intravenous infusion.
Earlier this year, former Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri was banned from football for six months because of a drip treatment he took at a Los Angeles clinic in 2016.
Nasri, 31, was treated while on holiday, but it contravened World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) rules leading to a Spanish Anti-Doping investigation.
Usada investigated Lochte after he posted an image on social media showing him receiving an intravenous infusion.
While he fully co-operated, Usada found he had received permitted substances at an infusion clinic in a volume greater than 100ml in a 12-hour period without a therapeutic use exemption (TUE).
US anti-doping rules prohibit such infusions or injections unless hospital treatment or a surgical procedure is required.
He added: “I have never taken a prohibited substance and never attempted to gain any advantage over my competition by putting anything illegal in my body.
“I would never intentionally violate any anti-doping rule. Unfortunately although the rule is a newer one and not as widely known as others I should know better.”
Lochte, who has been training with hopes of making the US Olympic team in 2020, had been expected to swim at this week’s national championships in California.