ESPN: USA Swimming Having Preliminary Conversations to Reinstate Michael Phelps for Worlds

According to an article by ESPN.com‘s Bonnie D. Ford and Wayne Drehs published on Tuesday evening, there’s a chance that the winningest Olympian of all-time, Michael Phelps, could be reinstated to the 2015 World Championships team.

The article says that Chuck Wielgus tells ESPN.com that he and Phelps “have had informal preliminary conversations about a possible reinstatement.”

“It’s complicated, but there are ways in which it could happen,” Wielgus said to ESPN.com on Tuesday. “There’s a pathway for things to be reconsidered, or considered.”

Wielgus said that the reinstatement decision would be reviewed by National Team Director Frank Busch and the USA Swimming executive committee, though a spokesperson says that it would be “premature” to discuss any specifics about next steps.

Phelps was removed from the World Championship team late last year as part of a “mutual decision” from he and USA Swimming after being arrested for DUI. The decision was in addition to a 6-month suspension.

Tim Phillips was already added to the 2015 roster to take Phelps’ spot in the 100 fly, and Tyler Clary, who was already on the roster, took Phelps’ spot in the 200 IM. Ryan Lochte took Phelps’ spot in the 100 free.

ESPN.com quoted Clary as saying that he would happily relinquish his spot in the 200 IM to return it to Phelps.

The 2015 World Championships, in Kazan, Russia, will take place well after Phelps’ return to competition at the 2015 Pro Swim Series – Mesa meet.

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mikeh
7 years ago

Phelps will be back at World’s for better or worse. USA swimming would never have gone on the record confirming negotiations otherwise. The lesson: if you are really talented, the rules will be bent for you. What a shame.

Lazy Observer
7 years ago

It is a testament to Michael’s athletic gifts and likeability that his teammates would welcome his return and go on the record to say so. However there is something unsavory to me about agree to a consequence and then negotiating your way out. Yes, staying off the Worlds team may hurt both Phelps and the team, but that is exactly what makes it a consequence and not, say, a symbolic and empty gesture.

If Phelps is an alcoholic, it doesn’t serve him to always have a back door option every time his mistakes become visible – becuase at least when they are visible he has to confront them. If he is not an alcoholic, then his recklessness last year… Read more »

Wolf Cartel
7 years ago

Michael Phelps likes to party, Brazil’s National Team likes to take performance enhancing drugs. I say let the guy swim if they’ll be at the meet.

pol
7 years ago

First and foremost Tim Phillips has no business to swim the 100m b. He didn’t earn it. Second, USA Swimming’s punishment was for their own image and they didn’t have any jurisdiction because it was a personal issue to begin with. And lastly, Phelps qualified fair and square.

We Love Phelps
7 years ago

prediction:
– MP will be reinstated for Worlds in Kazan
– he will represent team USA in the 200IM 100Fly 100Free and 3 relays

dismissed…

Tm
7 years ago

It does put them in a tough position to tell Phillips he is on the team then off the team. Lochte and clary are actually helped by being able to concentrate on their better events. I don’t see any problem with him being on the two freestyle relays and as far as the medley relay it would depend on how shields performs in the 100 fly. Personally I think it was premature to pick the team so far in advance. I think by this summer younger athletes like Seliskar and Conger will be swimming faster than some of the people already on the team. I know it worked in 07 and 11 but each situation is unique.

liquidassets
7 years ago

Being pragmatic, I agree with John26, Dee, and others who advocate for the partial return/Phillips compromise. Personally, at the time the decisions were made, I was a little surprised that Phelps/USS mutual agreement for worlds, but also thought it was probably a good thing. Phelps agreeing to a 45 day psychiatric/substance abuse inpatient unit signaled that his problem was more serious that we all thought, and that he was serious about tackling it. But he is still early in recovery, so skipping worlds would ensure he stayed on track. I also felt he was making a commitment to USS and especially his young fans and teammates, that he accepted serious consequences for a serious infraction. If alcohol abuse and DUIs… Read more »

john26
Reply to  liquidassets
7 years ago

Agreed,
I am very happy to see Phelps swim this year because I am a fan of the sport more than I am a regulatory purist. Baring doping violations, I hate to see swimmers unable to contest due to reasons exogenous to events that take place in the pool.

I am, however, extremely curious what prompted the change of heart in the highest level. Stuff like this barely happens unless someone pretty high up received incentive or something. ie. This is clearly not Bowman using Phelps’ celebrity as leverage like he did with fina.

Joel Lin
7 years ago

This is not for best. The spots were distributed and Phillips is one athlete added to the team. Can’t take that away after the fact. This makes USA Swimming look like a weak steward of the sport, and makes Weiglus look like even more of a joke. And that is saying something.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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