2016 RIO OLYMPIC GAMES
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Swimming: August 6-13
- Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Barra Olympic Park, Rio de Janeiro
- Prelims – 9:00 a.m/12:00 p.m PST/EST (1:00 p.m local), Finals – 6:00 p.m/9:00 p.m PST/EST (10:00 p.m local)
- SwimSwam previews
- Rio Schedule & Results
- Live Stream (NBC)
After registering the 4th fastest split in the entire field in the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay on Sunday, helping the Americans to gold in the event for the first time since 2009, the question arose: will Michael Phelps swim on the men’s 4×200 free relay?
He certainly makes a compelling case.
Phelps initially wanted to post a time fast enough to have him considered for this relay back in early June at the Longhorn Elite Invite, but ultimately failed to do so going just 1:48.73 in Austin.
After completely scratching the 200 free at the US Olympic Trials, many questioned whether or not Phelps would contest this relay in the Olympic final, one he has been apart of since 2002 for the Americans.
After his 47.12 split in the 400 free relay, there’s no question Phelps is on good freestyle form; and good form in general. Is there anything that could keep him off this relay?
The main issue is that the men’s 4×200 free relay final tonight is about 70 minutes after Phelps’ 200 fly final. A double we’ve seen him handle easily in the past, is that enough time for the 31 year-old Phelps to recover and put in a competitive 200 free? I believe it is.
Phelps has raced multiple times in sessions throughout his comeback, though he has tried to avoid doing it at the biggest meets. The fatigue during the race is the only real worry; not necessarily the fatigue throughout the rest of the meet. He has only the 200 IM prelims and semis on Wednesday, an event he can cruise into the final easily with.
At the end of the day, there’s no question whether or not Phelps will show up for his country if given the opportunity, and if he’s not the team will still be the favorites for gold. It all comes down to the coaches, but there’s no doubt he’s made his case.
If they weren’t going to use Phelps they could’ve done something like, say, let Lochte rest until the final and put someone else in the prelims. Maybe Townley Haas, who won Trials but is over ten years younger than Lochte, or someone like Blake Pieroni, who qualified in the 400 free relay but would no doubt get the job done here.
Though it may be tempting to sit the veteran Lochte until the final, his 4th place finish at Trials didn’t grant him that opportunity. He has yet to race at these Games, so the fatigue factor with him shouldn’t be much of a concern.
He’ll have to be careful though, because if the relay turns out the way it looks like it may, and one of the three prelim swimmers goes faster than Lochte in the heats, he could find himself in the crowd come the final.