CHIBA, Japan, August 20. ORIGINALLY scheduled to take part in the Japan International Swim Meet, Michael Phelps has withdrawn from the competition, the last major long-course meet of the year. Following the United States National Championships, Phelps' itinerary included a handful of engagements in the Pacific Rim, including a brief appearance at the Japanese meet.
But, meet organizers have revealed that Phelps will not take part in the four-day affair, which is slated to begin Tuesday with a high-quality roster of athletes. A reason for the withdrawal was not revealed, but with Phelps gearing up for the Beijing Olympics next summer, it could be as simple as his being focused on training with coach Bob Bowman at Club Wolverine.
Phelps, an eight-time medalist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, will be the marquee athlete in Beijing and has made it clear that the months leading into the United States Olympic Trials in Omaha will be spent with a deep focus. Earlier this year, Phelps won seven gold medals at the World Championships in Melbourne, setting world records in five of his disciplines.