Michael Phelps To Swim 50, 100 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly at the Mesa Grand Prix

According to Michael Phelps communications representative, Octagon’s Drew Johnson, Phelps plans to swim the 50 and 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly at the 2014 Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Arizona, reports Mike Klingaman of the Baltimore Sun.

NBAC Head Coach, Bob Bowman

NBAC Head Coach Bob Bowman

USA Swimming officially confirmed Phelps was coming out of retirement and returning to competition in Mesa, April 24-26th, yesterday in a press release.

On Monday, during the media horde’s rush to learn more, NBAC Head Coach Bob Bowman was low-key about his star swimmer’s return to the pool, managing expectations considering Phelps’ 18-month absence from competition. When asked how he felt Phelps would perform, Bowman told the Klingaman:

“I think he certainly won’t be embarrassed swimming in the meet,” Bowman said, “and I think he will be competitive. The difference is, he is doing half the training he used to.”

Bowman further cautioned that long-term plans — the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio — had been discussed in general terms, but that they were merely taking Phelps’ competitions one meet at a time.

As predicted by SwimSwam, Phelps’ schedule will skew to the shorter events, sprint races, as he eases back into competition.  Interestingly, Phelps showed a lot of promise back in 2010, the same Pan Pacific Championship season he’s working through now, in the 100 meter freestyle.  Coming off of a spectacular 2008 Olympic Games and 2009 World Championships, Phelps was off in most of his events. He clearly wasn’t engaged. His 200m butterfly was painfully slow and his 400m IM looked like molasses in the water. Rumors swirled that Phelps wasn’t motivated to race, that he had been missing workout sessions that season, and no one could blame the Olympic icon after all of the success he had achieved. Then Phelps leadoff the 4x100m freestyle relay in a 48.1. The crowd collectively gasped. Phelps could obviously switch it on when he needed.

Expect Phelps to experience many ups and downs as he works through his meet schedule over the next 90 days, with glimmers of greatness and signs that he could actually achieve personal best times in his sprint events.

Returning to the sport of swimming, the Greatest Olympian of All-Time will certainly impact coverage and continue to attract more children to the sport, increasing the base, but how will it impact his wallet? According to Bloomberg, Phelps should see a net gain.

Rick Burton, who served as chief marketing officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee at the 2008 Games in Beijing, told Bloomberg:

Peter Carlisle, Octagon Managing Director

Peter Carlisle, Octagon Olympic & Action Sports Managing Director, Michael Phelps’ longtime manager

While yesterday’s announcement was best for brands such as Subway Restaurants that are already associated with Phelps, new endorsers will likely want to know his plans for the 2016 Games.

Octagon has been Phelps’ sports management representative since he turned pro at the tender age of 16. Peter Carlisle, Phelps’ longtime manager, could not be reached for comment, but he has been consistent about his approach to building the Phelps brand. Carlisle likes companies with global marketing and advertising campaigns. While Phelps is a Team USA athlete, he’s an international icon. Phelps’ inspiration transcends borders and nationalities. He is everyone’s hero and belongs to world.

Eidtor Note: According to Forbes Magazine, prior to 2012, Phelps was earning roughly $7 million per year from corporate partners Subway, VISA, Speedo, Procter & Gamble and Under Armour.

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Shelby Hardbarger
5 years ago

One day when I’m fast enough, I want to ran against Michael Phelps in the Olympics, if it takes years. I don’t even want to win, just race.

8 years ago

Phelps will show some speed on 100 free , i never doubted one second he would train for it specifically one day . He was in Barcelona last year and saw how stupidely the Usa lost that 400 free relay . He knew that if he had been on the team , it would have been a different race . So , i would stick with 100 free / 100 fly for him for the months to come ….

8 years ago

this will be interesting indeed

8 years ago

I think he will surprise a LOT of people with his 100 free. What many ppl forget is that he was pretty damn good in the relay even with his massive workload of other events like Lochte. But the relay suffered by putting Lochte in cos he was fatigued from his other events. Phelps doesn’t have greatest speed on the water but obviously makes up for it with his underwater and turn. We’ve seen how Stravius had the greatest ever turn last year to win it for France. His 2010 PanPac performance was all about the momentum he got off the turn. The 100 free final at the WC or Olympics can be a lottery and there are SO MANY… Read more »

Lane 0
8 years ago

I hope phelps takes back his 200 scy fly record and swims a 1:38low-1:37high

I think Phelps Has almost no medal chance in the 100 free. not with Magnussen, McEvoy, Morozov, and even Adrian. It would be an accomplishment to even make the team individually
Le Clos will be really tough in the 100 fly, It’ll probably take 50.5 to win
There will be competition in the 200 IM from But phelps is phelps so there’s no telling what he can do

Reply to  Lane 0
8 years ago

Agreed. I think he just needs to gun for that relay spot. I actually think the 100 fly will be a better shot at gold than the 200 IM. Lochte, Hagino, and possibly Calisz (or others) will likely make that a very scary event to enter by then. Old Man Phelps can crank out a 100 and still be the best. He’s still got a very legitimate chance of winning the 200 IM in Rio, though, don’t get me wrong (and I’d say a medal is very likely, just not gold). I just think that if Phelps trains for the 100 fly (especially if he can commit to it more since he isn’t swimming every event), he’ll win it, even… Read more »

Lennart van Haaften
Reply to  Sven
8 years ago

I’d love to see him at SC worlds in Doha in December, but it’ll probably be smarter to fully focus on the LC meets, especially now he’s getting a bit older.

Reply to  Lennart van Haaften
8 years ago

I’m not sure I understand, sorry. Why would long course be better for an older swimmer?

M Palota
8 years ago

I say he’ll be 22.8 for the 50, 49.2 – worst case – for the 100 and I have this weird feeling he’s got a ripper in the 100 ‘fly. Maybe 52-mid…

My guess for his programme in Rio is 100 free and ‘fly and 200 IM.

8 years ago

To be honest, I believe that Hagino will have a go at that 200IM WR at or before Rio. I wouldn’t be surprised if he drops a second in each of his 200m swims and he’s no doubt going to work on his breaststroke. I believe that he’s already ready to have a crack at that record if he brings his breastroke to the level of Phelps or Lochte, he could very well be deep under 1:54 by then.

I don’t feel that its a good idea for Phelps to take a crack at the 200IM. His chance at the 4peat is much better in the 100fly, sure he’d only have 1 shot at the 4peat, but the 200IM willhurt… Read more »

Reply to  john26
8 years ago

Well.. Le Clos went 51 low going quite easy at first and came back looking everywhere around.. if he goes serious he may have a better shot at Crocker Textile than Phelps..

Reply to  Rafael
8 years ago

What constitutes “textile”? I’m not just asking Raf, but the community at large, since I’ve seen Crocker’s 50.40 referred to multiple times as a textile record. He was wearing FS2 legs, which are textile but they extend past the knee. So does “textile” only refer to the material composing the suit, does it just mean “pre-2008 and post-2009,” or is it a term we’re using to mean “legal suit?” I’m fine with it, if that’s the standard we all agree on, I’m just a bit confused.

I can’t find video for Crocker’s 50.76, but he was wearing legs when he went 50.98. Fastest time from London 2012 was Phelps 50.86. Anyone know of a faster jammer times off the top… Read more »

Reply to  sven
8 years ago

Textile includes the FS2 legs, even included Thorpe bodysuit (But If I am correct his 3:40:70 (around it) was even on Briefs.. only his 3:40:08 was on bodysuit)

But for that.. The last one full textile record (Briefs, not even jammers or legs) was Thorpe WR on 200 If I am not wrong

Reply to  sven
8 years ago

Textile means no rubber, i.e. the LZR and all the even further ridiculousness that followed. The PRO, even if a full bodyskin, would still count. I’m pretty sure most textile records now were set in jammers/kneeskins i.e. the standard coverage now, rather than the extra coverage suits.

Reply to  Rafael
8 years ago

I honestly dont think this “looking around” would cost him tremendously if he’s just side breathing (which, lets be honest, could be what he’s doing). I acknowledge that he didn’t do that in London, but hey.

My rationale for Phelps was his 50.65 in 2010. That was perhaps the swim I was least expecting that he’s ever done.

Reply to  john26
8 years ago

If I remember right, Lochte was 32.8 on the breaststroke leg at Worlds last summer (and 33.0 when he set the WR). Hagino was 33.8 on his, so like you say, if he can get it down to Lochte’s level, he’s sitting at ~1:54.4. A second drop is a tall order, but that’s easily the area where he has the most room for improvement so it’s possible. So as his breaststroke improves and he continues to develop closing speed, I think he’ll be a solid contender for gold in Rio and he could possibly shoot for Lochte’s WR. Big things ahead! Send that kid to work with Kitajima’s coach!

Sidenote: I think that no matter how much Hagino’s breaststroke improves… Read more »

8 years ago

My friends, MP will go 50.27 100 free, 53.09 100 fly and He will swim fly in the 50 fr and go 24.03

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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