Phelps Reflects On London 200 Fly: I Got What I Deserved

Olympic icon Michael Phelps was recently on-hand in Dubai to help open one of his sponsor’s new stores. At 700 square meters, the Dubai Mall will now be home to Under Armour’s largest retail outlet, with the brand being one of Phelps’ most lucrative ambassadorship deals.

The retired Phelps spoke to the attendees of the store opening event, covering a range of topics including his most recent Olympic experience, becoming a father and his advocacy for mental health.

“Now I get to talk about things that I never really talked about,” he said while speaking at the store opening. “Throughout my career I don’t want to say I had a mask on but some of the times I wasn’t truly showing who I was, but I think over the last three years I’ve shown this is me, this is what you get.” (gulfnews)

Since retiring from competitive swimming, Phelps has been on a campaign of sorts to speak out regarding mental health issues. He joined the board of Medibio, an Australian medical technology company, that developed new technology that helps diagnose mental health disorders such as depression or chronic stress.

He and longtime training partner Allison Schmitt were also selected to serve as Honorary Chairpersons of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Health Awareness Day national event this past May.

Touching on the subject in Dubai, Phelps said, “I can honestly say I’ve gone through depression probably half-a-dozen times, I have anxiety, I have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), these are things that make me human I guess, and I’ll get up and talk about them because it’s part of my life and I have nothing to hide.

“I’m completely comfortable to open up and talk about things when it comes to mental health and hopefully we can teach people that it’s OK not to be OK.

“Look, I wanted to kill myself and I was able to come back two years later and be the happiest guy in the world because I had the right tools around me and I was willing to change and I was willing to get better.”

Phelps specifically discussed his training from 2008 to 2012, a period which the 32-year-old calls ‘the worst four years of training in my life.’ He said,  “I’d skip weeks at a time, I’d disappear, would travel and do things that I probably shouldn’t be doing.”

As a result Phelps saw his 200m butterfly Olympic title slide into the hands of then-young-gun Chad Le Clos of South Africa who took gold in the event in London.

“The 200-metre butterfly final at London haunted me for a long time but looking back at it, I got what I deserved,” Phelps said.

However, the consummate mentally-tough athlete, the GOAT turned that animosity into fuel, saying, “I wanted to come back and be as good as I could, and really that was just for myself.” In Rio, Phelps would go on to win 5 more gold meals and a silver to bring his career haul to an unprecedented 28 Olympic medals in all.

Although insistent he is done with competition in the pool, aside from a possible comeback race against boxing superstar Conor McGregor, Phelps says he’s not going to fade away.

“I’m by no means done, or going to just sit back in retirement mode, I’m still going to work, it’s something I want to do and need to do in order to stay sane.”

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Wondering why he places so much emphasis on 200 fly.. Isn’t his 100 fly loss to Schooling a heartbreak too?

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

Well he started with the 200 fly in his career, it was his baby. He didn’t like to lose the 100 fly but it wasn’t the same. He also wasn’t prepared in London, he got what he deserved. He was prepared for Rio, but he was too dead by the end of the week to do anything to a fresh Schooling. But I think he was still disappointed. His best event was the 200 fly.


Schooling’a 100 was faster than Michael ever went textile, and age/fatigue caught up to him at the end of the week. I think Michael did everything he could and just got beat by a younger and fresher swimmer. No shame in that. That 200 was simply a lack of preparation on Michael’s part. That, I think, is what haunted him.

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

It is faster, but only by .06
He could probably have beaten him if it was on the first day.


Agreed. And that’s why I said fresher as well as younger. Even with the freakish recovery genetics Michael’s got, that 100 fly at the end of the meet has always taken him to the threshold of his endurance. Up through 2009, his body managed to perform well all the way through it. In 2012, he broke down in the final and got lucky no one else broke 51.2. In 2016 the same thing happened but Joseph was ready to capitalize, and good on him for it.

crooked donald

Plus, he had to be thrilled with his 200 IM swim, putting the field so far away and coming close to a PB late in the meet. He was just dead by the time the 100 fly final came around. He did a 23.7 fly, suited but unshaved, in his broken 1:47 200 IM in the leadup, according to Bowman. He would’ve been much faster than 51.1 fresh.

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

He was actually a bit disappointed for the 200 im, since his goal was to break Lochte world record.


He knew of Schooling since Schooling was 13, and being able to see the development of a swimmer who looked up to him and went on to beat him would’ve have warmed his heart for sure, and knowing he was a part of something that inspired the hard work and determination that cultivated a world beater would also have made him probably feel good and proud, so much so to the extent that although he was definitely disappointed, it didn’t bother him as much

crooked donald

He also knew from Olympic training camp that Dressel was going to rapidly eclipse Schooling.


That and being part of a 3-way tie for silver along with two of your biggest rivals over the years is special in its own way.


Yes. I admit Rio 2016 100m fly is very special. One of the most memorable events in Olympics history. Now Dressel will be a serious threat in 100 fly event. Looking forward to NCAA next year. Schooling is a fighter so we will see how it goes.

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

Dressel isn’t a threat. That’s like saying Phelps was a threat in the 200 fly for 2008. Dressel is the man to beat.

Coach Mike 1952

Well said!

tea rex

Phelps could fake his way through a 100 fly, but could rarely ever go 23 on the front half.

On the other hand, he was physiologically MADE for the 200 fly. I’ve never seen such a great stroke, with the perfect body and metabolism for it. If he only ever swam the 200 fly, he could have been knocking on 1:50.


If he fully trained between 2008 and 2012 he would have been in 150 or maybe even 149 range! He never reached his peak. He got the 151.51 after only six months training before 2009 worlds

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

I don’t think 1:49 is physically possible for MP in a jammer. In a supersuit arena or jaked then sure. But 1:50 or 1:51 would be his max in jammers.


He wasn’t disappointed because Phelps still did what he set out to do. He set out to change the sport of Swimming and make it faster as a whole. His loss in the 100 fly symbolizes him passing on the baton to the next generation of great butterflyers!

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

Even in London, his turns were better than in Rio.


Rewatch his turn in the 4x100m freestyle relay and then say that.

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

Watch his 2012 200 fly walls and finish, those were why he lost the race. I was talking about the 200 fly. But his 2012 4×100 underwater was prettt good.

dude 2.0

open turns, I definitely agree. way worse in Rio. But fair point, free turn on 4×100 free relay was B.A.


I’m referring to his underwater in the relay in Rio. He gained a full body length lead just from his underwater. I guess I didn’t make that clear.

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

I messed up. I was talking about 2016 200 fly. London had better turns then that.

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

And when I say turns, I don’t mean underwaters, I mean actually hitting the freaking wall on a full stroke.

Hater of Swimvortex

skip weeks and win 4 golds at Olympics. Emmmmm

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

Basically off his 2008 base. 80k a week

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

Loretta grew up outside Toledo, OH, where she swam age group and high school. Graduating from Xavier University, she stayed in the Cincinnati, OH area and currently resides just outside the city in Northern KY.  Loretta got back into the sport of swimming via Masters and now competes and is …

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