American swimmer Tim Phillips will replace Michael Phelps in the 100 fly on Team USA’s roster for the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia.
“It’s unfortunate about the circumstances regarding (Michael Phelps), but I am very grateful that I get to go and believe I deserve to be there,” Phillips said.
Phillips will occupy the spot that was vacated when Phelps and USA Swimming agreed that he would withdraw from the team after Phelps was arrested for DUI. Phillips’ swim of 51.49 in the 100 fly from the U.S. National Championships in August made him next in line for that spot, and he’ll join the National Champion Tom Shields (51.29) on the American team in that event.
The two will also likely be given the first shot at prelims and finals swims on the 400 medley relay, though Ryan Lochte (51.55 at Pan Pacs) should be a consideration there as well. Out of the 10-fastest Americans in the 100 long course fly last year, Lochte was the only swimmer to swim a best time at a meet other than U.S. Nationals, showing an ability to both swim well at the qualifying meet and still improve to the next meet.
On the other hand, Phillips’ B-Final win in the 100 fly at Pan Pacs in 51.52 was faster than Lochte’s 2nd-place time in the A-Final of 51.67.
In short: the Americans have a lot of great options for that relay with the deepest 100 fly group in the world, and will have a full meet to figure things out.
Phillips swam lifetime bests this summer in long course in the 50 free (23.17), 100 free (49.34), and 100 fly (51.49) – which are easily his three best events. The 100 free (with increasing relay potential) and the 100 fly are his primary opportunities as he rolls into his professional career.
Phillips says that he is finishing his degree up at Ohio State this semester, which he described as being “extremely important” to him. In January, he then plans to head to SwimMAC Carolina full-time – he’s split his time between Ohio State and SwimMAC for much of the last few years.