Ryan Lochte says he reached out to Michael Phelps for life advice after his drama in Rio -- explaining, "I knew he hit a low point in his life and he bounced back from it."
Lochte revealed the details to Ellen DeGeneres -- saying he was impressed by the way Phelps was able to rebound after his two DUI arrests ... and thought he'd be able to share wisdom.
"I knew his answer was gonna be really honest because of our relationship over the years," Lochte said.
"He said, 'It’s not what you did it’s what you do now that will shape who you are.'"
"I took that to heart and ya know that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna better myself. Make sure I don’t make those mistakes and become a better person."
The entire interview airs Monday on 'Ellen.'