Phelps Absent from Freestyles, Will Swim 200 Breast at U.S. Nationals

The psych sheet for the 2015 U.S. Nationals was released today, and one of the biggest surprises was the event schedule for Michael Phelps. Many have speculated that Phelps would post times at the U.S. Nationals in the freestyle races that would rank among the world’s best for 2015. That seemed like a definite possibility. But it’s not.

Michael Phelps won’t be swimming the 100 and 200 freestyles at the meet. It looks as if Phelps made the decision to swim one event a day. The 200 free is scheduled on the same day as the 200 fly, and the 100 free is back to back for the men with the 200 I.M.

He will, however, swim the 200 breaststroke. This is an event we don’t see him compete in often, especially at end of the season taper meets. Interestingly, Phelps is entered as the 20th seed with a 2:15.46. The USA Swimming database only shows one result for Phelps in the 200 breast over the last 5 years: a 2:18.79 from 2011. That’s still under the cut time, but it’s pretty far out of the range of the qualifying period.

Nonetheless, we’ll get to see some national level breaststroke action from Phelps next week, something we haven’t seen in awhile. His best time is a 2:15.06 from Nationals in 2007. This will be the last event of the meet for him. The beginning of his schedule is somewhat predictable.

Phelps will kick off the meet on Friday with the 200 fly. This could be the most challenging event for him, with a stacked field talent entered in front of him. The fastest of those is Andrew Seliskar, who comes into the meet at 1:55.92 from the Arena Pro Swim Austin in January. We haven’t seen Phelps swim this event tapered since his retirement following the London Olympics. He has raced it twice already this year, and showed great progress – after a painful-looking 2:00 at the Arena Pro Swim – Charlotte meet, he looked much more comfortable in Santa Clara, where he swam a 1:57.62. With a long history of success in this event, Phelps could very well come out on top.

The 100 fly will take place on Saturday. Phelps is entered as the top seed in 51.17. So far this year, his fastest is a 52.38 from Arena Pro Swim Mesa. He’ll be battling with Texas’ Jack Conger, the 2nd seed at 51.64. That time for Conger is the fastest done by an American in 2015, set at the Arena Pro Swim Austin.

On Sunday, Phelps will race in the 200 I.M. His entry time in the 200 I.M. (1:56.04) gives him a 3 second advantage over the rest of the field. Barring scratches within the top 10, Michael Andrew will get a chance to swim alongside Phelps in the circle seeded heats of the prelims. Also among the American talent seeded behind him, Will Licon could step up to challenge Phelps. Licon is seeded 12th at 2:01.44, but made huge strides this past yards season to come very close to a few American records, including the 200 yard I.M. The owner of that record, David Nolan, will also be swimming this event. His entry time is relatively underwhelming. He sits 51st with a 2:04.41. Look for him to move up after having a big year in 2015 so far.

Michael Phelps’ 2015 Summer Nationals Schedule

Day Event Entry Time Best of 2015
Friday 200 Fly 1:57.62 1:57.62
Saturday 100 Fly 51.17 52.38
Sunday 200 I.M. 1:56.04 1:59.39
Monday 200 Breast 2:15.46 N/A

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bobo gigi

That was not expected.
No more love for freestyle?
What is sure is that his new love for breaststroke is only a temporary summer love.


Correction: Phelps has swum the 200 fly at two meets this year–APSS Charlotte and Santa Clara. A brutal 2:00.64 at the first meet, 1:57.62 at the latter meet.


The article says Phelps’ only 2015 swim in 200 fly was at Santa Clara in 1:57 — but he also swam it in Charlotte in 2:00.

bobo gigi

Some readers are really merciless with swimswam contributors! 🙂
And I’m one of them.
But I think it’s good. At least it proves that we read what Lauren and her colleagues write from the start to the finish. Which is not the case of everybody here….

Rick Mears

Shot fired from Bobo…yes many of us are too lazy I guess to read these articles. Thanks Bobo!

bobo gigi

Sorry but when I see a “lazy” reader ask a question and the answer is in the first paragraph of the text, yes, that’s criminal! 🙂

Rick Mears

It does happen. I will give you that my friend 🙂

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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