U.S. gold medallist swimmer Ryan Lochte says it was "the coolest thing" that Britain's Prince Harry challenged him to a swim race at a Las Vegas pool party, but he's glad he missed the royal's nude image controversy.

Lochte told NBC's "Today" show Thursday that the prince's entourage approached him at his 28th birthday party Monday, saying the prince wanted to meet him.

Lochte says both were fully clothed but took off their shirts for the contest.

The 11-time Olympic medallist won.

Lochte says he's "kinda happy" the prince didn't invite him up for partying at a hotel suite. Photos leaked online show Harry naked and next to a woman during a game of strip billiards.

Lochte says he "didn't need that."