Mountains on Phelps’ mind after Charlotte
By Paul Newberry
CHARLOTTE ó Michael Phelps is heading to the mountains.
Eat. Sleep. Swim. That’s about all the winningest Olympian will be doing during his time at the U.S. training center in Colorado Springs.
He can’t wait.
“The next three weeks are going to be real important when we go to altitude,” Phelps said. “That’s going to be a big part of the summer.”
He already crossed the first major threshold of his post-Beijing career this past weekend, competing in five events at the Charlotte UltraSwim. Phelps won two and was runner-up in two others, losing to a couple of world-record holders. He swam only the preliminaries of his fifth event (50-meter freestyle), using it as training run for his new straight-arm stroke.
Considering Phelps had not raced since the Olympics ó the nine-month layoff was by far the longest of his career ó and he was coming off a wave of bad publicity over that infamous photo of him using a marijuana pipe, this was certainly an encouraging start to the final chapter in his master plan.
Phelps hopes to conquer some new events and add even more gold to an already unprecedented collection before he hangs up the cap and goggles after the 2012 London Games.
“I’m happy to be back in the pool,” he said. “I’m happy to have that first meet under my belt.”