How Fast Will Michael Phelps Swim In 2016? Gold Medal Minute presented by

Gold Medal Minute presented by

Michael Phelps is back to pre-2008 Olympic form.  That’s the takeaway from the 2015 U.S. Nationals in San Antonio.  Physically, he looked strong, stronger than ever, and his times spoke for themselves.

We beat the drum all season, making predictions, debating what we thought Phelps would go. Interestingly, Coach Bob Bowman laughed about it off-camera at U.S. Nationals, said, “We knew he’d go fast, but Mel, come on?”   

Confession: I never thought Phelps would swim faster than all of my predictions. I knew I’d put up the fastest ones, and that I’d get called-out for it.

The impression I got from Bowman on deck in San Antonio was he knew Phelps would post solid times, but not times that fast. I think Bob’s rarely surprised…and Phelps surprised us all.

Instead of jumping into predictions–because I’m going there–I have two questions.

What was Phelps’ best swim? They were all lights-out. I think it’s tough to say. I’m biased, so I’m going with 200m butterfly.  I think it’s hard to go sub 1:53 in such a grueling event. 200 fly takes the most base-work to produce a great swim. For that reason, I’m picking 200 fly. What event do you think was Phelps’ best? 

Phelps was crystal clear about one thing in his post-race interviews. He’d like to put up a best time, a tall order in the shadow of the tech-suit era.  Of course Phelps would like to swim all best times next summer, but I think the one race he’d like to swim a PB is the 100m butterfly… I also think it’s the hardest of them all.  49.82 is so fast. It’s sick!   What’s the one event you think Phelps would most like to achieve a PB?

Lastly, let’s play the prediction game. I know it’s stupidly early to do it, but we can always recalibrate as we near the summer of 2016.

Michael Phelps 2016 Olympic Predictions:

100m Butterfly – I say Phelps swims sub 50, a textile best, threatening his rubberized 49.82, but just misses it.

200 Butterfly – Phelps swims 1:51…something. I don’t care. I’ll take 1:51 point 9, but I think he dips under 1:52 in a textile suit.

200m IM – Phelps swims 1:53.81. I’m getting specific on this one because I think it’s his best shot at a PB and a new world record.  (NOTE: Phelps’ 200 IM PB is 1:54.16 from the 2011 World Champs in Shanghai.  Phelps turned that swim in right behind his longtime friend and rival Ryan Lochte. Lochte won in 1:54.00 to claim the WR…. On another note, I’m not 100% certain Phelps will win next summer. He’s got stiff competition in this event.  Lochte tops the list, and after getting bested by Phelps in August, you know Lochte’s going to be hyper-focused on that race. In sum, one thing is certain. We’re going Back to the Future in Omaha next year at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.)

What are your Michael Phelps predictions for the 2016 Olympic Games (or U.S. Trials)?

You can follow Michael Phelps on Twitter here.

Follow him on Instagram here. 

See Michael Phelps’ MP HQ here.



This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of, a Swimming News website.

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5 years ago

I agree with most of them, I also think that Phelps (together with a couple of young additions, Dressel and Rooney maybe) will bolster the relays and bring back gold at least 2 of the 3 (4×100 free is a stretch). The only difference would be that I think Hagino is the bigger threat than Lochte. He’s young, only 20 years old and went 1.55.3 last year. he also hasn’t put a time down this year and so is an unknown. I don’t know whether anyone’s seen his 200IM from the Japan trials, but it was very impressive.

T white
Reply to  emg1986
5 years ago

If the race is close, and it could be, 1:42.2 200 FRR split

bobo gigi
5 years ago

Mel, once again congrats for your stunning great magical time predictions of last summer about Michael Phelps. I was wrong to doubt about these times and wrong to doubt about the Greatest. MP looked amazing in and out of the water in terms of overall shape, power and happiness. We could feel the excitement in his interviews. He looks very happy right now in his life and we know that a happy swimmer is a fast swimmer. I didn’t expect such performances at all so the surprise was giant. He was slow and struggled all season in Grand Prix but everything was planned with Bob Bowman since the beginning like in his best years: swimming very tired in season and… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

I think you’re right, wins and medals are remembered more than times- but what would we be without hundredths of seconds to hyper-analyze? Jokes aside, medals and wins get remembered, but the times sure mean a lot too.

5 years ago

I will say these olympics will be interesting, they will be the last for our well know super stars like cielo and phelps, and they will start opening the gates for many of the youngsters.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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