Michael Phelps Continuing to Change the Sport With Skill Centers

SACO, Maine, August 21. AFTER 12 years of working with agent Peter Carlisle and his team at Octagon Sports, Michael Phelps finally made the trip to the company headquarters in Maine this week, under the guise of checking on the progress of a new business venture.

In the same location as the Octagon headquarters, about 20 miles from Portland, the Michael Phelps Skills Center made a quiet debut this year. The program, an offshoot of his Michael Phelps Swim School based in Baltimore, runs in a warehouse-type space filled with four swimming treadmills that are equipped with cameras to film strokes at every angle. In an article published today by the Portland Press Herald, Phelps and Carlisle talked about the importance of the Skills Center and their mission to make more kids water safe and reduce the drowning rate in the United States. The center is one aspect of the IM program Phelps recently started to get kids motivated to swim or do other things in life.

“We’re still very much in the mode of testing (the Skill Centers) and trying to figure out what works,” Carlisle said. “It’s still in the developmental stage, but we know we can do the (instructional) programming really efficiently.”

The Skills Center, which is planned to open soon in other cities, will allow coaches and swimmers to work with another Phelps product in conjunction with out-of-the-pool training. By swimming in the Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas designed by Master Spas, swimmers and coaches can get immediate feedback on their strokes, something Phelps said he used firsthand when fixing an aspect of his stroke.

“When I was able to see what I was doing right or wrong with my hands and how my elbows were, it allowed me to break it down easier,” he said.

It could also be a place for athletes to get water-based therapy, Carlisle added.

In addition to feasting on lobster and taking a brief dip in the chilly Sebago Lake as part of a special relay race, Phelps answered questions for six coaches and met with some swimmers from the Portland Boys & Girls Club.

Naturally, Phelps was asked about a possible return to the sport, and in this video filmed by the Portland Press Herald, he says bluntly: “If I was coming back, I think I’d be in the water right now. I would be spending a lot less time on the golf course.”

Phelps did say that he’s still involved in the sport, adding that he is going to continue his goal of changing the sport “until that goal has been reached.”

Portland Herald Press article