Michael Phelps: 'I feel like an old man coming out of the pool'

May 13, 2011|By Matt Vensel

Olympic hero and Baltimore native Michael Phelps is in North Carolina this weekend for the Charlotte UltraSwim, where he will get another tune-up for July's world championships in Shanghai. In April, Phelps lost a 200-meter butterfly race for the first time since 2002, and he wasn’t very happy about it.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated prior to this weekend’s meet, Phelps admitted that “there were times over the last two years where I was probably trying to do the bare minimum, and it shows.” He was corrected by longtime coach Bob Bowman, who quipped, "Beyond the bare minimum.”

I guess hitting the pool in Las Vegas last month didn’t count.

Phelps said he didn’t feel like himself during that Grand Prix event in Ann Arbor, Mich. After finishing fourth in the 200-meter butterfly, he has reportedly been training in Baltimore with Bowman.

"I feel like an old man coming out of the pool sometimes,” he said. “My body doesn't recover like it used to.”

That doesn’t sound like the awe-inspiring Olympic swimmer who took home a record-setting eight golden paper weights and/or beer coasters from Beijing for his Fells Point condo three years ago.

So at age 25, is Phelps washed up? I’m not so sure. I wouldn’t rule out another sparkling performance from Phelps in the 2012 Olympics. After all, he is arguably the most dominant athlete of this generation. But it’s clear that the “bare minimum” isn't going to cut it if he wants to give America a few final thrills in London.

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