USA Swimming Releases Statement Supporting Michael Phelps’s Rehab Stint; Still Quiet on Potential Punishment

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, October 5. This morning, Michael Phelps released a statement that he would be stepping away from the sport to focus on a stint in rehab, following his second DUI arrest in 10 years. Phelps is slated for a six-week inpatient program, that will cost him the rest of this year in terms of competition and training.

USA Swimming, while still withholding any Code of Conduct punishment decision for the DUI, released a statement today supporting Phelps’ decision to enter treatment.

“We fully support Michael’s decision to place his health and well-being as the number one priority. His self-recognition and commitment to get help exhibit how serious he is to learn from this experience.” – USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus.

Phelps was pulled over by an officer for the Maryland Transportation Authority at 1:40 am local time for going 84 miles per hour, 39 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. According to an MDTA statement, Phelps was driving south on I-95 when the officer detected him speeding via radar gun. Phelps was “unable to perform satisfactorily a series of standard field sobriety tests” and taken to a police station for booking. Phelps was later released, though the statement does not report the conditions of his release nor his alcohol level. He was officially charged with “DUI, excessive speed and crossing double lane lines within the Fort McHenry Tunnel.”

It wasn’t Phelps’ first brush with the law as he was arrested for a DUI in 2004, and also suspended for three months by USA Swimming after having his picture taken with a bong in 2009.

This is the second high profile rehab for a swimmer, who at one point, was considered the Greatest.  Ian Thorpe had his issues earlier this year, after a battle with depression that led to him coming out as gay on Australian television.

Barring a lengthy punishment levied by USA Swimming, Phelps should be back in time for the tail end of the Arena Grand Prix series in 2015.

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Rachel
7 years ago

I am about the same age as Phelps and I come across peers with the same “I can do anything” attitude he seems to have every now and then. He’s a very talented and hard-working swimmer; there is no denying that. Unfortunately, he is not using his platform to accomplish anything but self-satisfaction. The American swimming community should take this opportunity to highlight other renowned swimmers who are being TRUE LEADERS!

I hope that Phelps does learn about himself and find ways to grow, but, after 12 years of this, I’m on team “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

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Lou Ann Johns
7 years ago

I hope that USA Swimming will punish Michael Phelps appropriately. He has had a tremendous career, but what he was arrested for was extremely dangerous. He is old enough to know better and at this point, considering his past, I would vote to deal with this current violation with the severity that they use with coaches.