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