Chase Kalisz Signs with Michael Phelps’ Team MP On Cusp of Defending World Titles

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Chase Kalisz competes at the FINA Champions Series in Indianapolis. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Chase Kalisz, double world medley champion,has signed with Michael Phelps’ Team MP. He announced his decision Thursday on social media.

“I am so excited to share that I’M officially joining#TeamMP as a global athlete ambassador,” Kalisz wrote.

Both swam together at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club on their way to becoming Olympic podium-placers, Phelps as the greatest hauler of all-time, all sports, 23 gold from four Olympics at the peak of his pantheon, Kalisz a silver in the 400m medley at Rio 2016.

Kalisz will defend the 200 and 400m medley titles at the World Championships in Gwangju from July 21-28.

 

 

Here’s a reminder of the might and meaning of his Budapest 2017 efforts, by Craig Lord

First it was a 1:55.56 win in the 200m medley, a triumph that indicated something special on the cards come the curtain-closing session of world titles in Budapest. On promise: 4:05.90 over 400m for the medley double. From kid in the shadow of the Phelps/Lochte era to king of his own time.

The mantle of Michael Phelps (a ball and chain best not dragged to the blocks) weighed heavy on Chase Kalisz in 2016. This year, he shuck it off – and how. Emerging from his victory in the 200m medley on the fifth day of racing at world titles in Budapest in July 2017, the new champion paid plaudits to both long-term American greats of medley, Phelps and Ryan Lochte, when he said:

“Last summer was a disappointment to me where I wasn’t able to carry on the 400IM tradition, that was something that bothered me for a few months. I am very aware of what those two have done, they are the centrepiece of IM in our sport, both of them. No-one is going to change that or replace those two but to be able to continue and represent the US and be on top of the podium in that event, that’s cool with me. Those two are my idols.”

He added: “It was a lot more fun than the 400IM. I felt a lot better climbing out of the water instead of crawling out.” Having the all-rounder model of models in the pool alongside him on a regular basis had made him a smarter swimmer. Said Kalisz:

“I have been lucky to have been around Michael my whole life and see how he handled it and I did my best job and keep my composure imitating what he has always done and I think that was a big bonus for me helping me get where I am tonight.”

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Chase Kalisz. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

That was their time, this was his. It was time to step up but not to replace, Kalisz suggested: “No-one is going to replace those guys – my kids are probably going to be talking about those two (Ryan and Michael) and everything they have done. For me to stand on top of the podium and  … Caeleb [Dressel] can speak for himself, he is something else, he is going to continue to be a star and he is only getting started … but I think we are in a good place three years out from the next Olympic Games and we are still in a rebuilding phase and everyone from the US is swimming really well. This has been the best World Championships I have been to in as much the team being close and everyone working toward one goal.”

A year out from Rio, Kalisz set off to Tempe, Arizona, where he would team up with coach Bob Bowman once more after the Baltimore coach had gone off to hone and sharpen the college program at Arizona State.

In a fine article on the Red & Black website before Budapest, Bowman spoke to Kalisz’s strengths when. he said: “Chase’s calling card is breaststroke. What he has that no one else has is a breaststroke that can swim. I could see him swimming 1:05.00 or 1:06.00 in a breaststroke split and if he does that, he’ll challenge Michael’s record.”

All of that was put on show big time in Budapest.

Kalisz spent the year to world titles under the guidance of Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle. The two coaches, says the swimmer, are  “very similar training wise, practices are very identical… It’s really not much of a change being away from Bob this year as it was being away from Jack last year.”

Bowman remains as “still kind of my coach”, just not there all the time these days, said Kalisz in 2017. Bowman told Red & Black:

“Chase has always been goal oriented and he’s really grown so much as a person, he can see the big picture now. It’s really been fun for me to see him grow into a man and understand how the game is played at the top level.”

In the same feature, Bauerle was quoted as saying: of Kalisz: “Right now he’s our best American IMer. But I still think he can be a little bit better.”

In Budapest, Kalisz appeared to have got quite a bit better. Sharp. Confident. Poised. Even a little Phelps-like, perhaps, in a Chase Kalisz sort of way.

Check out the MP team here.

Chase Kalisz Career Highlights

  • Gold medalist in the 200m and 400m IM at 2018 Pan Pacs
  • 2018 Phillips Nationals champion in the 200m and 400m IM
  • Winner of the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series overall men’s title
  • Gold medalist in the 200m and 400m IM events at the 2017 FINA World Championships
  • Champion in the 200m and 400m IM at 2017 Phillips 66 Nationals
  • Won the men’s series title for the 2017 arena Pro Swim Series
  • Four-time NCAA Champion in the 400y IM (2017, 2015, 2014, 2013)
  • Silver medalist in the 400m IM at the 2016 Olympic Games
  • Winner of the 400m IM at the Olympic Trials to earn a spot on the U.S. roster for the 2016 Olympic Games
  • Took bronze in the 400m IM at the 2015 FINA World Championships

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