Ryan Lochte Hopes Michael Phelps Makes Comeback

Ryan Lochte, 11-time Olympic medalist, weighs in on the Michael Phelps comeback topic. Lochte,  in Vancouver for the Mel Zajac Jr International at the University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre, told the Indo-Asian News Service:

Michael Phelps & Ryan Lochte

Michael Phelps & Ryan Lochte

“Michael Phelps is the hardest racer I ever went up against. What he’s done for this sport of swimming is tremendous. I hope he comes back in. I think he will. I know he will. It’s just a matter of time and when. I know he will.”

Lochte confessed he did not have a direct confirmation from Phelps but explained to the Indo-Asian News Service:

“I can’t say. I just have a feeling. I’ll just leave it at that. I have a feeling he’ll come back… The friendship that we’ve developed throughout the years of racing each other and the rivalry it’s one of the biggest in the sport and we had a lot of fun doing it. So I definitely hope he comes back because in a way he pushed me and I pushed him… it was definitely great for the sport.”

Friday, May 17th,Peter Busch of NBC2 in Florida, broke the story of Phelps’ comeback. Peter’s father is Frank Busch, the USA Swimming National Team Director. Peter didn’t indicate whether or not his father leaked the story, and Peter didn’t neccessarily need his father to chase down the story.  Peter’s been a strong voice in swimming for many years, an insider as the anchor of the Morning Swim Show.  Casey Barrett, however, was first to the punch at Cap and Goggles (and Peter confirmed it).  Barrett’s also an insider who works with USA Swimming’s support staff during NBC’s coverage of big competitions.  During the dramatic hours after the leak, Twitter blew up with #Phelpscomeback tweets.  Phelps finally weighed-in semi denying his comeback via Twitter.

SwimSwam checked its sources, adding this followup story, No Secrets in Swimming.

Ryan Lochte and teammate Elizabeth Beisel are only two of many world-class swimmers competing at the Mel Zajac.  Eleven swimmers from the Canadian World Championship team and 10 athletes from the Canadian World Student Games team will join them, including Savannah King, Tommy Gossland, Sinead Russell, Brittany MacLean and Tera Van Beilen.


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9 years ago

I’ll be shocked if Phelps doesn’t return to swimming at some point, and it won’t be because of “unfinished business”. Since well before his formative years, Michael’s whole identity has been as a swimmer. He missed a lot of other parts of life because of his commitment to the sport, and I get his desire to take some time to try to “catch up” on some of that – traveling, partying, doing other activities, etc. Sooner or later though, he’s going to look up and realize he doesn’t have a real sense of himself without swimming. And that’s when he’ll be back, for better or worse.
Just my opinion. Time will tell.

Lane Four
Reply to  AnotherVoiceInTheCrowd
9 years ago

Very well said, ANOTHERVOICE. I agree completely,

9 years ago

Considering how well Anthony Ervin managed to bring himself back on the map, I would predict it is not impossible for Phelps even if he enjoyed a little bit longer his life outside of the pool. Ervin seems to be an exceptional talent. But so is Phelps.

If Phelps returned, I would say he has best chances in shorter distances. Only in this way he can continue to have a life also outside of the pool, namely in the gym.

Reply to  SwimFanFinland
9 years ago

Not to disrespect Ervin in any way, but it’s much easier to make a comeback and return to your best in 50s than in 100s and 200s.

But yeah… Phelps has not retired that long to warrant the status of “retired” and “come back”

Ralph T
9 years ago

I have mixed feelings about this. One half of me is very excited to have Phelps come back to swimming. The other half of me wonders if he could ever be “great” again.

He has had several months of no swimming. It would take a tremendous amount of effort to get into the kind of shape he was in at his best. He couldn’t do it for the olympics in 2012……he was admittedly not on his A game. So how can he do it now that he is getting older?

I always thought he had unfinished business in the 100 free, 100 back, 200 back, and even the 400 free. Problem is he is getting too old now to break… Read more »

Reply to  Ralph T
9 years ago


I see people Phelps on too much a higher spot on 400 free.. and I think it is not an event he could a medal level guy with the Australians and he is nowhere near Sun.. even if he had focused on that before.. I can´t see Phelps as a guy who could beat Thorpe before or Sun

He may have a medal shot on 100 free.. but it would be difficult even if he focused on that now

Reply to  Rafael Teixeira
9 years ago

Even if Phelps trains only for 400 free now, he will not beat Sun Yang.

And a few months out of water is nothing.. he still has three years to train before Rio.
In fact, in his age, these few months out of water may work wonder, as it will re-ignite the spark and provided him with opportunities to do something else but swimming.

9 years ago

I hope Phelps stays retired…got out on top – he has nothing further to prove.

Reply to  swimfan25
9 years ago

me too. i really don’t see how he can win. no matter what he does or says the public will still be expecting at least 6 medals, and hoping for 8. there’s no way he can live up to their expectations

in the swimming world his legacy is already solidified. what could be reasonably do to improve it? win a medal in every stroke? win a medal in the 100 or 400? those might be challenging but we don’t need him to drag out his career any longer. we know how world class he was in those events already and his times and performances speak for themselves

Reply to  mcgillrocks
9 years ago

I can’t believe people refuse what I said for years:

Phelps is probably the most competitive person on earth. There’s still record to chase:

To be the first swimmer to four-peat.

He is currently sharing the three-peat swimmers with Fraser and Egerszegi, and he wants title to himself only.

He will make a comeback.

Last year before the trials when I had said Phelps would swim 400 IM, people also laughed at me. They believed Phelps’ pledge never to swim 400 IM again .. lol.

Reply to  aswimfan
9 years ago

four peating is pretty hard.

If he does not do that.. the ones from these who could try that could be Ledecky, Missy, Ye and Yang.. might be easier for Ledecky and Yang cause long distance tend to have fewer “superstars” compared to other races..

Reply to  Rafael Teixeira
9 years ago

But it is difficult to maintain top shape in long distance when you grow older.

Even Janet Evans couldn’t do a threepeat.

Ledecky, Missy, Ye and Yang will not four-peat. At least one of those will threepeat though. the biggest chance to three peat is Missy in 100 back.

Reply to  Rafael Teixeira
9 years ago

I would think of Missy on 100 back and Ye on 400IM..

Might even add Ruta on 100 breast..

bobo gigi
Reply to  aswimfan
9 years ago

Before the trials, aswimfan, I have never said MP wouldn’t swim the 400 IM. I hoped MP wouldn’t swim the 400 IM. It’s different. And the story has shown I was right. Now I don’t say MP will not come back. I say I hope he will not come back. It’s different. But if he comes back I will accept his decision and I will be his first supporter. And if there’s a race he can win a fourth time in 2016, it will be the 100 fly. He would specialize his training just on sprint with many hours in the weight room. And he would use that power in the 100 free too. 100 free, 100 fly and 2… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

Phelps needs to train exclusively for 50-100 free and 100 fly.
50 free training is used to sharpen his top speed.

And in Rio, he needs to race only in 100 free/fly and 4×100 FR and 4×100 MR.

That way he will maximise his chances in 100 fly.

Forget about 200 IM or 4×200 FR.

9 years ago

He wont be as happy if Phelps bumps him out of an individual spot on the 100fly in 3 years

Reply to  john26
9 years ago

… if Phelps goes thru with it, it could be one of the densest events (at the top) at trials, and one of the densest 100fly fields in history with Lochte Phelps McGill Shields Philips and whoever else.

9 years ago

I believe it. Lochte turns 32 the day before the swimming competition starts in Rio. He’s going to need all the motivation he can get to keep it fun for that long.

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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