Six-time Olympic gold medallist Ryan Lochte, back from a 14-month suspension, won the 200m individual medley at the US swimming championships in Palo Alto, California.

Lochte, 35, clocked 1min 57.76 to win a 27th national title and stamp himself a contender to make a fifth Olympic team next year.

“This was a lot easier 10 years ago,” said Lochte, who finished 1.07sec in front of silver medallist Shalne Casas.

“I’ve got a lot of ways to go for 2020.”

Lochte was suspended from swimming for 10 months after a scandal at the 2016 Olympics, when he was found to have fabricated a story about a robbery during a drunken late-night episode in Rio de Janeiro.

He had returned from that ban when he was handed a 14-month suspension by the US Anti-Doping Agency over a prohibited intravenous infusion of legal vitamins - which he posted about on social media.

In his time away from competition, Lochte appeared on the US television reality show Celebrity Big Brother, and also sought treatment for alcohol addiction.

Lochte, who would turn 36 during next year’s Tokyo Olympics, won individual Olympic gold in the 200m backstroke in 2008 at Beijing and in the 400m individual medley in 2012 in London and won 4x200m freestyle relay gold in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

He has won a total of 12 medals in four Olympic appearances.