From Swam to Swim Again: 4 Takeaways from Phelps’ Unretirement
Remember when Michael Phelps quietly retired from swimming? Yeah, he doesn’t either. The most decorated Olympian in the history of the Olympics came back from losing children’s games to children to race in the 100 meter butterfly — ostensibly to qualify for Nationals, which is the first step towards being able to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Phelps, 28, told The New York Times that the he thought the last time he’d had to worry about qualifying for nationals was when he was 13. Fun fact: Phelps holds the world record for the 100 meter butterfly with a time of 49.52.
He qualified — he actually posted the fourth fastest time in 2014 and finished second. To Ryan Lochte, who is the kind of prerequisite friendly rival to Phelps that all individual sports seem to spawn. While the pair did not race simultaneously, which would’ve been difficult considering they both swam in the same lane, they finished the finals with times of 52.13 (Phelps) and 51.93 (Lochte).
But what does this mean for the swimming universe, and for Rio? Phelps’s two-year retirement left a void in the pool, a space that no amount of water could fill. Here are four takeaways from the return of Michael Phelps.