Michael Phelps’s motto for this week’s upcoming USA World Championship Swimming Trials in Indianapolis is “anything is possible.”
Phelps is currently scheduled to swim in seven events in Indianapolis, and, if he qualifies for every one, then he will be swimming a total of 10 races in Montreal this summer at the World Championships on July 24-31.
“We still have four or five days until the meet starts,” Phelps said. “I’m trying to take a step forward in my training, since I’ve only had the chance to swim in a meet or two since Athens. (Michigan coach) Bob (Bowman) may have me drop a race, but we’ll see. I’ll know by the time I get there.”
Phelps has the top time in three of the events he is scheduled to race — the 400-yard individual medley, 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley. He holds world records in two of those events — the 200 IM (1:55.94) and 400 IM (4:08.26). While his program of events is made up of various races, including sprints and distance races, Phelps is most excited about swimming the 400-yard freestyle.
“I’ve wanted to swim the 400 in a big event for a while,” Phelps said. “I don’t know what kind of shape I’m in for the race, but we’ll see how it goes.”
After the Olympics this summer, Phelps endured a back injury that was a stress reaction to the aftermath of Athens and the swimming tour he was on from September to November.
“My back isn’t 100 percent right now,” Phelps said. “I’ve had to change some things in my training. It’s been hard to get back into working out with my back. I don’t want to push that. Once I get this meet under my belt, I think it will be a good transition for my training.”
Over the past four months — since the conclusion of the tour — Phelps has adjusted to life in Ann Arbor. He is taking classes and training with Club Wolverine. Since he hasn’t had many opportunities to race, he said that being able to train with Michigan has helped him to develop.
“It’s different because I’m not used to having someone to train with all the time,” Phelps said. “It’s nice to have people who brings their ‘A’ game to practice every day. I’m the kind of person who likes to have competition in the pool. Being able to have (juniors) Peter (Vanderkaay), Chris (Dejong) and Davis (Tarwater) here is really great for me. It’s amazing to be able go in and train and help each other work towards the next level.”
This past weekend, Phelps was in Minneapolis for the NCAA Swimming Championships, helping out the Wolverines.
“That was the second NCAA Championship meet that I’ve been to,” Phelps said. “After seeing Michigan do so well at the (meet), it made me excited to head into a meet that I get to be able to experience myself.”