A hundred yards to the west, commuter traffic on Interstate 83 isn't moving as quickly as Phelps. Two thousand yards are covered in intervals of 200, at an increasingly quicker pace, arms isolated by bands around ankles and round paddles on hands.
Multiplied a hundred times during an individual medley, a misplaced elbow could cost a swimmer seconds.
"Watch the turns," says Bowman, who harps on Phelps' flips. "See how Kevin comes faster off the wall every time? See how his feet get over faster?"
The quicker an interval is completed, the more rest swimmers get, and Phelps has time to prop his elbows on the wall and chug a sports drink. During the 600-yard warm-down, his 6-foot-4 frame effortlessly gobbles up the 25 yards to a movable wall.
At 8:20, the other four change for a three-mile jog to Robert E. Lee Park and back. Phelps suffers from a knee condition that is exacerbated by road work, so he climbs a flight of stairs to an exercise room and spends 20 minutes on a stationary bike.
Two weeks earlier, Phelps had his wisdom teeth removed, a precaution for 2004. The stitches came out only a day before; a trip to San Diego for a swim convention made meals even more problematic.
"I got over 200 pounds in Barcelona," said Phelps, stepping on a scale. "Now I'm down to 188. Pudding, soup, Jell-O, ice cream, that's all I could handle for three, four days. Now I'm ready to eat."
As a Loyola undergrad, Barone frequented Pete's Grille. When he joined the NBAC, he introduced Phelps to the Greenmount Avenue diner. He and Clements climb into Phelps' Cadillac for a refueling that has become ritual.
Phelps starts with a sandwich of fried egg and cheese, with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and fried onions. He orders another. That is followed by three slices of French toast, a western omelet and a bowl of grits. Phelps finishes with three chocolate chip pancakes, which he puts a serious dent in but doesn't finish.
By the time he eats a forkful of the omelet, Phelps probably has exceeded the recommended daily intake for an active 200-pound man, 2,500 to 3,000 calories.
"Counting butter and syrup, he might have gone over 4,500 calories," said Lou Sharkey, the proprietor of Pete's. "He has that every morning he's here, except he usually has a milkshake instead of the pancakes. The other guys try to keep up with Michael, but they can't."
Clements puts his head on the counter and begs for sleep. It's hard to rest with Phelps and Sharkey talking trash about their visit to a video arcade in Rockville.
The chatter around the counter is focused on Hurricane Isabel, which is still off the Atlantic coast.
"I can't imagine not being able to play video games for a week," Phelps said.
By 11:15 a.m., Phelps is back home, as fatigued as his teammates.
"See you in three hours," Phelps says. "I need to go to bed."
For the second time in six hours, Phelps wakes up. He has another bowl of Basic 4 cereal, this time with Savannah in his lap. About as aloof as a Labrador retriever puppy, Savannah could turn a dog person into a cat lover.
Michael's sister, Whitney, who's back in the area after studying and coaching in Las Vegas, pops in.
An end table in the living room has a framed photo of a local seafood house's billboard, which reads, "Congratulations Michael Phelps. Hostess Wanted. Busboy Wanted." The glass case in the dining room holds assorted trophies. The planter in the opposite corner props up a 2004 Athens poster.
The kitchen art includes a print of Sydney's Darling Harbor, a reminder of the 2000 Olympics. The one magnet on the refrigerator displays the toll-free number for an anti-doping organization, where athletes can check on the legality of supplements. Cases of sport drinks are delivered to Phelps' house, unsolicited. The refrigerator is filled with Red Bull, and he pops open a can of the energy drink.
Upstairs, Phelps' bedroom appears Spartan, but it has just been painted and not all of his electronics have been rearranged. In front of the couch, there's a 47-inch high-definition TV. The windows are covered with tin foil.
"Keeps sunlight and heat out," Phelps said. "Learned that in Sydney from Kyle Salyards and Tom Wilkens."
The afternoon warm-up commences, with a dozen high schoolers added to the choreography.
Each of the four strokes is emphasized at least once a week at the day's main session, and this afternoon it's the breaststroke, Phelps' weakest. Twenty intervals of 100 yards are spiced by five all-out swims, with the number of intervals between the sprints diminishing. As Phelps attacks the first, a dozen members of Meadowbrook lounging at the outdoor pool bask in the glow of summer's last gasp.