Phelps on New Events: “What Else Are We Going to Add? 75m Frees?”

Following the IOC announcement of the additions of the men’s 800 free, women’s 1500 free, and the mixed 400 medley relay to the Olympics, many people haven spoken out. While a popular grievance has been that the 50’s of stroke should’ve been added before these other additions, or at least before the mixed relay, Michael Phelps is frustrated with the addition of new events, in general.

While he does support gender equality and the women’s 1500, an event in which men have been able to swim for more than a century at the Olympics, adding new events “takes away from the sport,” according to Phelps at an event for Krave Jerky in Manhattan (per NBC Olympic Talk).

“What else are we going to add? Are we going to do, like, 75m frees? How many other events are we going to add?” he said. “It’s just like what we had in 2009, after world championships, having those high-tech suits. It’s not swimming anymore. We’ve had this event schedule for so long, and now we’re just going to pick and choose what events we want? I could go into more detail, but I’m really not going to. It’s a touchy subject. I hope swimming takes the turn for the right direction, and we continue to grow.

“When you add something like an 800m for men and a 1500m for women, and you’re adding mixed relays and 50s of strokes. I don’t want to say it, but it seems like there’s too much going on. It seems like, so then we’re going to grow the team by a handful of other people? I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s what swimming has been through all of this time, and hopefully we don’t have it for too long, but it’s not in my power. I can’t really do anything. I’ll just sit and watch.”

In terms of adding people to the team, which Phelps seems concerned about, the IOC did say that they were going to lower the overall amount of swimmers invited to the Olympics by 22. From that statement, it seems as though team sizes won’t increase because of the new events, at least for now.

However, Phelps wasn’t wholly dismissive of the IOC announcement. He did address murmurings of Katie Ledecky potentially going for more than six golds in Tokyo with the new events added.

Besides the 200, 400, and 800 free individually, as well as the two free relays, Ledecky would assumedly take gold in the 1500 in Tokyo to put her at six golds. As she’s progressed in the 100 free and the 400 IM, there are talks of having her at least swim prelims on one or both of the medley relays, or shoot for gold in the 400 IM (that being more of a stretch than being a prelims medley relay swimmer), bringing her over six golds to nine, potentially.

“It’s great to be able to see Katie potentially go for eight,” Phelps said. “I think it’s great to see different events added for Katie because then you can really challenge where her limit is. … Then you bring a lot more excitement to the sport from a marketing standpoint.”

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166 Comments on "Phelps on New Events: “What Else Are We Going to Add? 75m Frees?”"

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So he rails against adding extra events, but suggests making an exception for Ledecky? I’d understand if he were making the case for gender equality, but he jumps directly from talking about the sanctity of the sport’s tradition to playing up “marketing value” of the very decision he took issue with. Doesn’t make sense to me.

Go Bearcats

He secedes and admits that there isn’t much he can do in the middle of the article, so he goes to say how great it is for Ledecky and athletes like her since he will just have to live with these new rules. There is nothing wrong in what he did/say.

I don’t take issue with either point he made, I’m just remarking on the inconsistency. It’s strange to me that he’s almost saying “of course I have principles here… But since I can’t change anything, I might as well drop them.”

I’m not convinced the most decorated athlete in our sport’s history couldn’t influence that decision, either.

Go Bearcats

I see what you’re saying now…and I do agree that he could influence big decisions like these.

He states that he likes the gender equality is good,and that specific part is good AND benefits Katie ledecky because it will test her limits. His position on this topic is very clear and flows nicely. You are simply looking for a flaw that isn’t there.

I feel like this quote is probably out of context slightly. He states at the beginning that he supports women swimming the 1500, which combined with the 200, 400, 800, either the 100 or the 400 IM, and at least prelims on all three traditional relays, would be a shot at 8 medals. If he was talking about the mixed medley, it’d be a shot at 9, and he specifically mentioned 8.

I get the addition of the 1500 and 800 for women and men but mixed relays come on that’s a joke

Sir Swimsalot

It’s worse than that. Just a very poorly thought out decision.

Swimming has been a joke for a long time. There have been too many events for a long time.

Curious as to why you are on a Swimming site if you feel that way?

Additional Thoughts

Carlo = Troll. You took the bait.



Sir Swimsalot

You have been the joke of SwimSwam’s comment section “for a long time.”

I think you make a very good point. I thought they should just make the women’s 800 the 1500 & call it a day. An ok way to go is adding a distance free medal event for men’s & women’s, but let’s also appreciate that an open water men’s & women’s medal event have already been added in 2012. Mixed relays is a bad look. I’ve come to loathe the winter games because of the flooding in of X Games garbage. The winter games are an inch away from dudes driving a Subaru with parachutes off cliffs. Mixed swimming relays will cheapen out the sport. It’s a fun diversion in the non-Olympic year meets to make things fun…but come on.… Read more »

Hehe the X games part was very funny but I don’t really agree it has any correlation with mixed relays in swimming. While there’s a fine line between show and competition, 50s absolutely have a place in swimming and snowboard has a place at the winter olympics. For example snowboard big air is no more outrageous as a sport than 10m diving, the idea is completely similar. (except one has an imagine of being something cool and hip and the other is seen as traditional sport – everyone can have their own opinion about that).

Sometimes it is not a joke when it conveniently supports someone’s point. Just a few articles prior this one it was proudly noted that Missy Franklin has one of the most impressive collection of world championships gold medal in history of this competition. Eleven to be precise. Seven of them were for the relay win INCLUDING mix relay. Gold is gold.

susan huber

What is wrong with mixed relays, we swim them all the time in Masters, it gives a lot more interest and makes one really swim harder to be able to do well. Ps, some of us Masters are world record holders and ex Olympians, junior Olympians ( me).
They also have mixed events in diving….
However, why 75 m????….hmmmm….

Masters is not the olympics and yes swimming had been a joke for a long time.


get your monkey off your back Carlo ….

Sir Swimsalot

If you kept your mind as open as your mouth you would learn to appreciate it.


75m free would be epic for someone like Anthony Ervin

You mean someone like cam mcevoy…..

Which one choked in Rio?

A lot of elite Australian athletes were injured or sick in Rio (cate campbell/cameron mcevoy). This doesn’t mean they choked.

Sir Swimsalot

I never heard what happened. Where they really sick? I’ve been wondering all this time why they underperformed.

Cate Campbell had a hernia operation the minute she had landed back in Australia after the games – something she was suffering with for about a month out from the games. Something had to be wrong with Cam because leading into the games they started plucking him out of all his other events to try and scrape together every .01 of a second they could. We had to swim someone considerably slower in the 4×200 and it cost us a higher medal. All we’ve been told is “he was sick”. Larkin was the favourite going in for the back but he didn’t choke – Murphy is an absolute gun and if he didn’t win he was always going to be… Read more »
Methinks, the truth lies somewhere in between, C2 went into Rio very underdone due to illness and injury (whe’d withdrawn from more events/meets than she’d swam in the lead-up). C1 did have a hernia which was later operated on but realistically it was not the full story of what went wrong. She clearly wasn’t in WR shape when the meet started but was still capable of a sub52 relay split (which is still indicative of a 52mid flat start). Was it the fact that the team as a whole was misfiring badly or did Oleksiak’s SF swim “get in her head” but her swim in the final was that of someone who was rattled out of her usual race strategy.… Read more »

Aussie always choke at the games now.

Attila the Runt

We’ll throw in London then, too, with Maggie and the boys.

Voice of treason

That falls under the definition of choking, son.


USA – There was an Australian Swimming Grand Prix a few years ago with 25s, 75s and 100s of all strokes – McEvoy swam 9.86, 35.00 and 1:14.18 for the freestyles…and the 75m was the only one he didn’t win! (Tae Hwan Park took it in 34.95.)


NO , Ervin . Ervin was even still accelerating when he won in Rio . Imagine over 75 meters….

Not accelerating, but Ddcelerating less than everyone else

Admit it…you’re just gateway trolling Cavic for being the best 75 fly guy.



Vlad Morozov circa 2013.

If you watch the olympic final you’ll notice that santo killed everyone to the 75. However If it was an olympic event my money would be on a certain French swimmer.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studies sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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