With another USA Swimming Grand Prix set for this week in Charlotte, we’ll have the pleasure of another instalment of the Michael Phelps Show.
At least in terms of hype, remembering that in the last edition it was actually Ryan Lochte who stole the attention.
Phelps is entered in the 200-metre Freestyle and the 100-metre Butterfly, both on Friday, adding a little more distance to his entries compared to Mesa, where he was pencilled for two 100s and a 50.
Logically, Phelps has aimed to use sprint events to cushion his return. Although the 200 free is on his schedule, it’s arguably the most like a sprint of all the 200-metre events. Plus, Phelps has repeatedly said he’s just out to have fun, something a 200 butterfly or 200 I.M. certainly is not.
It’s hard to record much more about the Bowman-Phelps strategy. Swimming the 200-metre free this week could as likely be a bet with North Baltimore teammate and French Olympic champion Yannick Agnel as it could be some master plan. Despite being the American record holder, Phelps is actually the 14th seed in the race, behind four other North Baltimore swimmers including the Frenchman who is going in first. Rounding out the top three in terms of seed time are Ryan Lochte second and London 4×200 relay champion Conor Dwyer, (Lochte was also on that relay).
In the 100-metre Butterfly, Phelps’ time from Mesa is now sixth in the world according to FINA. Getting faster is the most obvious goal, and maybe beating Lochte who is also entered.
Notable Canadians in the competition include 2012 Olympians Sam Cheverton and Katerine Savard. Watch for Cheverton in the 200-metre free, or Canadian record holder Savard race the 100-metre fly. Speaking of being good at 100 fly, Savard’s fresh Canadian record from April is third best in the world in 2014.
The competition begins Thursday with the distance events and runs until Sunday.