After months of training, Ryan Lochte was looking forward to a night out on August 13, when he and some other swimmers went to a nightclub in Rio.
The night ended in scandal, when an incident in a gas station bathroom led the swimmer to claim that he had been robbed at gunpoint.
But Lochte, 32, tells PEOPLE that he doesn’t have an ongoing alcohol problem.
it was a one-time thing,” he tells PEOPLE. “I don’t have a problem with drinking. We hadn’t been able to drink in like months. We hadn’t gone out or partied. But we had just won a gold medal. We were out celebrating. I had one too many drinks. I made a foolish mistake. ”
For much more on the aftermath of the Ryan Lochte scandal, pick up the latest copy of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.
Lochte tells PEOPLE that the incident has served as a wake-up call – and that he needs to tone down his partying ways.
“I do like to party, but I’m going to calm that stuff down,” he says. “I want to start focusing on the things I love, like teaching kids to swim and helping kids. I’m going to do that, and not be a partier anymore.”