Michael Phelps 200 Free Focus: GMM presented by SwimOutlet.com

Gold Medal Minute presented by SwimOutlet.com

Michael Phelps Suit Launch by Mike Lewis (5 of 5)At the Mesa Pro Swim Michael Phelps got off to a sluggish start, not making the 200 free final. Racing in the banana heat, he pushed his horsepower and revealed a lot about where he is at in training.

200 free is painful, much harder than 200 fly. Phelps can rely on rhythm and technique in fly. He can’t in 200 free. It’s all drive from the legs, all high-gear-power for a high body-position in the water. Start to finish. Phelps, since 2008, has been striving for that elusive superhuman body-position he felt at the Beijing Games–his 1:42.  In Mesa, he felt it, in a small way.

Phelps split a sub 52 at the 100 meter mark in his 200m free.  Flipping in 51 point 9, at this point in the season, is huge. You can count on Phelps being out at the 100 in 50 point at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials (if he has to swim it there to seal his spot on the 4×200 relay).  In late June, I think flipping in 50 point at the 100 will be easy-speed for him.

Is he really considering 200m free as an individual race?  I don’t think  so.  The Beijing Olympic 200m free was perfect, a work of art.  He doesn’t need to do it again.  This Olympics for the Greatest Athlete of All-Time is about striving to deliver perfect performances in other events, 100 fly, 200 fly, and 200 IM.  Besides, he’ll swim his 200 free flying from a relay start in Rio.


AUSTIN – EARLY JUNE: I’m conflicted. I wouldn’t be surprised if he swims 200 free in 1:46.7, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t swim it at all.  On the other hand, he could swim it gunning for a 1:45, a time that “could” put him on the 2016 Olympic Games 4×200 relay.   Relay selection is up to Coach Bowman, the Men’s Olympic Team Coach, and no one could or would question him putting Phelps in the lineup. (Thinking this through, 200 free could be very interesting with respect to Phelps and how he manages his schedule over the next 8 weeks.)

OLYMPIC TRIALS: In Omaha, in prelims, he’s 1:44.9 if he blasts the race to the wall.  He could also clock a 1:45.7, backing off intensity, cruising into the wall, a swim fast enough to seal his spot on the relay.

OLYMPIC GAMES: With a flying relay start in Rio, he splits 1:43.4. Team USA wins the gold.

200 free is a tough call.  What do you think?  Share your wisdom!

You can follow Michael Phelps on Twitter here.

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See Michael Phelps’ MP HQ here.



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.

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Canadian Shark

I always felt like Phelps had a spectacular individual 200 free in him for London. His 144.05 anchor split in open water with no pressure or competition proves it. He would have had to swim a 1:47-1:48 for Agnel to catch him. Individually I don’t think he could have possibly beaten Agnel, but I still see a 1:44 low – 1:43 high performance. His excitement for being so close to finding that Beijing stroke and buoyancy again should strike fear into the hearts of his competitors. I think Phelps would call anything worse than a 1:43.99 a disappointment with his ultimate goal being a textile PB. Also if he doesn’t swim the event individually, he definitely leads off the relay… Read more »


If phelps swims this race in rio he wins it. However I doubt he will as he will probably just stick to the relay when it comes to the 200 free. Jeahhhh


A low 1:44 is probably going to win Gold at Rio. Not sure Phelps can go that low at this stage in his career. I’d be shocked if he could beat James Guy.


1.44 low to win gold at Rio? Last year Guy at Worlds won the 200 free with 1.45.14, roughly the same time he swam at British trials last month. And nobody of the many pretenders (besides Guy, Sun, Biedermann, Hagino, McEvoy, Fraser-Holmes, Stjepanovic, the two Usa, Stravius and so on) is sure to dip so under 1.45. So far, really an incredibly uncertain race. Phelps with 200 fly, 200 im and 100 fly has a schedule already so challenging.., but I’m pretty sure that Bowman is tantalized looking at 200 free.., this was a “bread and butter” event for Phelps at least from Worlds2005 to Olympics2008, and also at Worlds2011, after a year of discontinuos training Phelps swam well under… Read more »

Irish Ringer

I don’t think swimming the 200m free at trials is that big of a deal compared to what it would be in Rio, because he won’t have the relays.


I have supposed that Phelps won’t be swimming the 200 free at Rio.

Obviously, the 200 fly final in the same session will affect his time in the 800 free relay, but, considering what happened in the past (even at Panpacs2014, considering his poor training, particularly for 200 free, Phelps swam a decent leg around 1.46.0) I suppose that a fully tapered Phelps can swim an high-level leg.

1.43.4 relay start predicted by Mel would be stellar.., I think more a 1.44 low relay start or a 1.44 high/1.45 low lead-off.


Sorry for the double message

Irish Ringer

I agree he would have an excellent chance to win the 200m free if it was one of his 3 individual events and he dropped either the 200m fly. Let’s keep in the mind the current crop of 200m free swimmers isn’t that impressive and nobody has been under 1:45 this year or last year for that matter. I guess STEPHEN below is expecting a big drop from James Guy, which may happen, but I would still like Phelps chances if the 200m free was part of his reduced program. With that being said adding the 200m free as an individual event is too much at Rio. Here’s what his schedule would look like assuming he also swam the heats… Read more »

team Rwanda

No 200 fly final ? Are you saying he doesn’t go past the sémis

Irish Ringer

Just an oversight.I wish we could edit these comments.

Coach Mike 1952

It is quite possible (likely?) that MP wants to avenge that sloppy loss to Chad LeClos in the 2 Fly at London. After all, it “was” his event for almost a decade until then. He still can win it three times to join the 100 Fly & 200 IM as three-peats as he seeks four-peats in the latter two. As MP himself said, he “almost” got a gold medal without even training for it. Extremely few are so gifted (especially in the 2 fly no less) who could say that in history. This year’s evolution of the G.O.A.T. is a different being. He is “cut” (his own words last summer) from the intense training, & even Bob Bowman said he… Read more »

Josef Bittman

I think he’s going to exceed all expectations and can go PRs in every event as long as he doesn’t run out of gas over the course of the olympics. Tapering a 31 yr old body is magnitudes different than a 23 yr old. A rested Phelps after all the hard work he’s putting in the pool and weight room will amaze.

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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