One More Chance For Michael Phelps To Swim Fast Before Nationals (Video)

Jun 18, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Michael Phelps (USA) answers questions during day one of the Arena Pro Series at Santa Clara, at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara, Calif. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Robert Stanton/USA Today Sports Images

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Michael Phelps and his teammates from the North Baltimore Aquatic Club are in Santa Clara, Calif., for the final meet in this year’s Arena Pro Swim Series. It’s the last chance for Phelps to put in some swims that will give him the momentum to do well in August at the USA Swimming nationals.

In a press conference held after a brief swim at the George Haines International Swim Center, Phelps talked about needing to find the mental capacity to put himself in position to race the top athletes in the meet. He’s struggled in his past two competitions this year, failing to win an event in Charlotte last month and performing below expectations in Mesa despite coming in with a positive attitude.

“There are a lot of things that are in the right place, and the only thing that has to happen is I have to get in and race as hard as I can, whether it’s to get in the A final, whatever it might be,” Phelps said. “I’m still at the point of trying to figure out what I actually have in the tank, how fast I can actually swim. That’s something that’s still kind of frustrating for me.”

Phelps is competing at the USA Swimming nationals in August because he withdrew from the world championship team after his DUI arrest last September. In that time, he’s been invited by the top brass at FINA to swim at worlds, but is accepting the fact that nationals will be the championship meet for him this summer.

That means Santa Clara could be his last opportunity to race some of the best swimmers in the world, including Brazil’s Thiago Pereira and Joao De Lucca, as well as fellow Americans Conor Dwyer and Nathan Adrian.

“I’d like to have something good here (in Santa Clara),” Phelps said. “The big plan is to swim fast here to give me some confidence. It would be nice going into training camp in Colorado after this if we have one or two or three or four good swims.”

Phelps is looking to embrace the pain that comes from a hard race, citing his battle with former North Baltimore teammate Yannick Agnel in the 200 free last year in Santa Clara. Agnel had a stronger final 50 meters to win the event over Phelps, a result that still resonates with Phelps a year later.

“I put my body on the line probably for the first time in a year in that meet,” Phelps said. “I actually felt pain. I’d like to have that feeling again, (though) not die as hard as I did. I’m excited to be able to get up and race again.”

Michael Phelps and Bob Bowman press conference, 2015 Arena Pro Swim Series – Santa Clara