Michael Phelps Scratches 200 IM At Longhorn Invite Night 3 Finals

June 5th, 2016- Austin, Texas- There weren’t too many scratches on the final day of the Longhorn Elite Invite, but the biggest name on the deck did scratch the 200 Individual Medley.

Michael Phelps is off the heat sheets for Sunday’s finals in the 200 IM. He cruised to a 2:05.89 this morning and was sitting 5th heading into the final. That’s well off both his lifetime-best (1:54.16) and his best time since coming out of retirement (1:54.75 from last summer).

Based on his in-season swims earlier this year (1:57.6 at Winter Nationals, 1:57.9 at Mesa, 1:58.0 at Austin), it appeared Phelps would have plenty more in the tank to challenge for the win tonight, but it turns out the greatest of all-time won’t be competing Sunday night in Austin.

For a 30-year-old swimmer, swimming tonight’s race might have been less valuable than getting an early start on recovery and perhaps the trip back to Arizona State, especially with Olympic Trials just three weeks away.

Other scratches:

  • Mimi Schneider, 200 butterfly, 2:17.39 – 8th.
  • Will Glass, 100 back, 57.4 – 4th.
  • Glen Cowand, 100 back, 56.84 – 8th.
  • Elizabeth Bailey, 2:20.56- 7th.
  • Jordan Surhoff, 2:21.39 – 8th.

Click here for live results of tonight’s finals.

Full finals heat sheets

In This Story

Leave a Reply

15 Comment threads
58 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
37 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Irish Ringer

May have figured swimming another 1:57/1:58 wasn’t that important and instead headed home to see the family. He said in a post race interview that it was frustrating that he wasn’t faster, but he’s trusted Bob’s plan and that he felt the same frustration last year.


Perhaps he was providing a spot for Nolan in the A final, worth some cash for top 3.

Past Experience

You make it sound like a ho hum decision.

My read is….
He is extremely upset at Bob, himself and terrified of what might happen in Omaha.
Approximately 3 seconds per 50 off his best time in the 200 IM??
He is mentally reeling at his current ability.
Make no mistake he is in survival mode.

I don’t think that’s the case. The guy just became a father, so like Irish Ringer said, maybe he wants to go home to his family and get started on recovery. He’ll be spending enough time away from his kid when he’s busy swimming in Omaha and Rio, plus the training with the Olympic Team in between. He could stay tonight and swim it again, but he’s put up plenty of solid times in the event already this season.

Aside from that, he seems to have a good mentality right now. He looks like he’s in great physical shape, and he seems happy now that he’s dealt with a lot of things that challenged him emotionally in the past.


A lot of professional athletes spend time away from their families. It is part of the job of being a PROFESSIONAL. People pay to see him swim and he needs to remember that, as well as other professional swimmers that scratched. Anyone in Austin that paid to see him in that final should get a refund.


In all fairness, over the years, I’ve been to my fair share of events and scratching is an inevitable part for a multitude of reasons, especially with meets like this that serve as tune-ups.

Cate- I understand that people want to see him swim. However, they did have an opportunity to watch him swim at every other session of the meet. Since the people aren’t paying Phelps to watch him swim, he shouldn’t be obligated to stay and race if it’s outside of his best interest. Yes, professional athletes spend time away from their families, but if they didn’t HAVE to, and if doing so didn’t really benefit them in any way, then I think a lot of them would gladly take an extra night with their newborn son.

Irish Ringer

He’s took an early flight and made it home before finals even started. Judging by his last post on Instagram he’s happy to see the family.

Joel Lin

In your past experience you likely know that there are bubble days in that process. We all swam meets close to the championship one where laying an egg happens. Everyone’s process and taper is a little different. Basically MP’s issue at this meet was he had no easy speed yet. Classic taper bubble case.

Tru chainz

You’re projecting your own feelings hard af there. Nothing suggests anything you said is the case and any multiple time Olympian, let alone the GOAT, has more mental poise than to ever think that way

Past Experience

In his interview he says “I hope Bob knows what he’s doing”
That suggests what is happening at this meet is outside of what was planned/expected and MP is holding Bob responsible at least to some extent.
There are heated discussions going on between the two about the current progress he’s experiencing.
Before 2012 he has said in interviews that he skipped practices and argued with Bob continually.
He described their relationship as toxic.
Poise shmoise……only human.

tru chainz

You’re reading too far into a single quote. The other stuff you’re citing is 4+ years old and happened during the time Phelps was (presumably) struggling pretty hard with depression and alcohol. I see no reason to chalk this meets performance up to anything other than him being in a less than ideal part of his training cycle for fast racing.
And even so, he dropped a 51.6 100 fly which would have been considered an excellent unrested swim for literally anyone in the world but him.

Also “poise schmoise”? I’m gonna assume that was some kind of mistake?


Phelps doesn’t do survival mode and he doesn’t panic. He knows when to go fast and when to rest.

Past Experience

He should have “known” to go fast in the 200 Free.

tru chainz

Maybe he should have had you there as his combination coach/training partner/rabbit eh? I’m sure you know better than he and Bob do lmao

Swim Fan

I really like Phelps – both as a person and swimmer – but I definitely saw some early signs of panic from him. He doesn’t cope well with panic (I hated that look of no explanation in his eyes in the interview when he simply did not know why he is swimming slow when he fully expected to swim really fast) but he gets super motivated when people diss him like LeClos last year at Worlds. I think he needs someone like LeClos, Cseh or even Cavic to talk smack about him. LeClos is always good for a snarky quote – just wait.


He had that same bewildered, panicked look after the 400 IM finals at London. Then, if memory serves me correctly, he blasted a 47.2 doing the second leg of the 4X100 free relay later that night.

Panic is good now for him, because it tells him to rest. That’s all he needs.

Swim Fan

Yes you are right, in 2012 you are right he had that panic look after the 400 IM and then bounced back the next day with the blistering swim. But he didn’t do that here. He started out mediocre and swam slower from there as the meet progressed. That’s what I’m talking about.

Anyway, we both are pulling for him. Hope this meet gives him the wakeup call he needs to rest for OT. Go Michael Go!

Swim Fan

I am a huge huge huge MP fan and really want MP to kick butt at Rio, but I have to agree with Past Experience’s comments. I see all the thumb downs for Past Experience but I think it is because people don’t like the message rather than necessarily disagreeing with his analysis. I definitely saw palpable frustration in that interview where MP came right out and said he was frustrated. He seemed to be at a loss to explain what is going on and from his voice (and words) I could also hear frustration at Bob. Perhaps Bob has got him way overtrained at the late point in the season and has started too late for his taper. In… Read more »


Huh? “At a real risk of not making the team”? Look, he had bad (for him) swims, and there’s that look/talk of panic. But he’s going to make the team, at the very least in the 100fly and 200IM. He’s just that much better than the 3rd best in the USA in those events. Now, if you want to discuss winning golds in those events in Rio…yes, I’ll give you that it’s a “real risk” that won’t happen, but he’s going to Rio, and not on his own dime.

Swim Fan

Not sure what you are “”huh”-ing about. Look, we are both on the same side. We both want MP to make the team and win lots of gold medals at Rio. Go Michael!!! All I’m saying is that the way he performed in this meet 3 weeks out from OT, he has a real risk of not making the team. He fully expected to swim great and he didn’t. In fact he swam slower as the meet progressed. Bad sign. t still think he will make the team but it’s not the lock that you believe it is. In the 200 IM there are at least 2 guys I can name right off the top – Lochte and Chase Kalisz… Read more »

Irish Ringer

In your past experience how many Olympic teams did you make? If we are going on your past experience let’s hear some credentials.


Phelps can swim an in season 1:58.5 200IM standing on his head. Even I know that. The issue is can he swim a1:54 low in Rio this year after heats and semis.


Bet it was important for those who paid their money to see him swim. He as well as Adrian, Ervin and Dwyer who scratched their final at Santa Clara are professionals and their fans deserve better.


No need for the Phans, or the GOAT, to feel nervous. He’ll do just fine at Trials on a full taper. The 200 free is the only event that looks a little shaky, but he is good enough for a morning swim on the relay which should give him a Gold, even if it might be a soft one by his standards. His individual events are going to be very tough in Rio, with comparative youngsters providing very stiff opposition. Hagino, Le Clos and Schooling all want a piece of him. Cseh is also looking for a payback, after over a decade of disappointment. That is a lot of competition.


I’m starting to worry that he’s overtrained and worked his body into exhaustion (weight loss, fatigue, etc.). I hope he gets some sleep outside a hypobaric chamber this month. For all the talk about how unprepared he was in London, he still went blazing fast on the free relays, nearly swam a best time in the 200 IM, broke 51 in the 100 fly semis right afterwards, and swam basically as fast in the 200 fly as he did in San Antonio last summer. With all the work he’s put in this year and the 400 IM off his schedule, I don’t think there’s any reason to worry about resting him too much.


That’s actually a really good point.

Joel Lin

I’ll give you this point. He trained a lot harder this time, and this taper is unlike ones prior. We all remember Lochte at the Olympics in 2012. He looked like he could do a set of 4×200 back on the 6 minutes and hold 1:54s. The problem was he couldn’t do one in 1:52. MP looks like a guy who needs A LOT OF REST.


You mentioned few months ago that you thought phelps needed lots of rest. With his times in rio do you think they didn’t rest him enough? I’m really suprised that he didn’t swim faster especially in his fly events.

Tom from Chicago

I have always stated a 30-year old body is not the same as one in their early twenties. I respect Phelps for giving it a try. I think he wants to add even more of a cushion to his Olympic medal lead, but this is a herculean task. I just don’t know if he’ll be able to get his resting/taper together for 2 meets within 6 weeks. I suspect Phelps may have a decent trials, but then his Rio performance will look like this meet. The other problem is that all his races are much more competitive. It looks like he’ll have a difficult time making the 4×200. At least 3 other guys will go 50. in the 100 fly.… Read more »


1. If Phelps has a decent trials, I’m confident he’ll have at least a decent Olympics. The question is whether he’s broken himself down too much to turn it around in the next three weeks.

2. Cseh is 29. I don’t think age is the determining factor here, except that it will give Le Clos and Schooling an advantage through three rounds.

3. I don’t think it’s at all guaranteed that Lochte and Hagino will break 1:55. Lochte was far from that in Kazan, and Hagino’s never done it, right?


Ehhh… Lochte gave himself a break last year with training to prepare for the Rio push. He didnt train to go as fast as possible in Kazan. I’d bet on him beating his 2015 time with his Omaha swim. Probably gonna see him in top breast and free form for the 200 IM in Rio, making him dangerous. My only question mark with Lochte is if he can go out 24 mid on the fly without going over 29 on the backstroke this summer.

Irish Ringer

Minor correction, Cseh turned 30 in December.


I think everyone should give phelps a bit of respect holy hell ???? we are talking about the greatest swimmer of all time who threw down world leading times not even a year ago… Saying he’s going to perform like this at the OLYMPICS that is just ridiculous

bobo gigi

And it starts again.
People panic. People are concerned. MP is done. Missy is done.
Calm down guys. Last year I read the same things. 😆
MP is old now. Times will drop with much rest.


Rest and tapered or is rest alone enough?

About Caley Oquist

Caley Oquist

Caley Oquist grew up in a small town in Central Minnesota where she learned to swim at the age of four. She found her passion to write when her mother was diagnosed with cancer at the age of nine and has been writing ever since. Apart from her love for …

Read More »