One year before Beijing, Phelps goes for 10 US titles
Michael Phelps will swim 10 events in the US Swim Championships, mindful of his bid for eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.other Updated: Jul 31, 2007 13:32 IST
Michael Phelps will swim 10 events, some outside his specialties, in the US Swim Championships that begin at Indianapolis on Tuesday, mindful of his bid for eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.
The five-day meet will be the last long-course nationals before next year's US Olympic trials, but with the 2008 Olympics in China just over a year away, Phelps will swim some unusual events, including Tuesday's 200m breaststroke.
The US Olympic trials eight months from now in Omaha, Nebraska, are Phelps' next key target, followed by the Olympic meet.
"The biggest thing is really getting through this and being able to get right back into training - that's the most important thing," Phelps told the Detroit Free Press.
Phelps won eight medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics but fell one short of matching Mark Spitz's record of seven Olympic golds in one meet. Phelps, a 32-time US champion, did win seven titles at this year's World Championships.
Phelps, who will have seven individual and three relay events, will skip the 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley but will battle Ryan Lochte in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM and Ian Crocker in the 100 butterfly.
Bob Bowman, Phelps' coach, said his star pupil's program at Beijing will be based purely on a quest for gold.
"If he doesn't have a realistic shot to win a gold medal, he won't swim that event because with the semifinals, it's too much," Bowman said. "You have to know there's a reasonable shot of getting what you want to get."
"Let's face it. After last time, that's the only goal."
Bowman also told the newspaper that it is far too soon to know what events Phelps might swim at trials, much less in Beijing.
"It's too soon to tell. It may very well end up like last time where he swims events in the trials that he may not swim in the Games. It's kind of hard to know," Bowman said.
"While we're going to base all our decisions based on what's Michael's best program, you do have to factor in what other people are doing in certain events and how that's shaking out."
For now, Bowman said, Phelps needs to enjoy swimming, not be stressed out by it.
"He probably hasn't had the intensity level and emotional intensity level, the same that it will need to be next year. And I think that's fine because nobody can maintain that for three years on in," he said.
"He's looking forward to nationals as just a fun meet. He's so intense. And when he's intense, he's very intense. It's not vacation from swimming but a vacation from the mental pressure."