Michael Phelps won’t compete on the first day of the Pan Pacific Championships, pulling out of the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke. The most decorated swimmer of all time will debut at the Australian meet in the 100m free on Friday, according to reports.
It’s not a shocking move for Phelps, whose best shots at individual victories at the meet appear to be in the 100m butterfly Saturday and 200m individual medley Sunday. Phelps is also swimming to make the U.S. team for the 2015 World Championships.
He said he spent time “working on the basics” in training after not winning any events at the U.S. Championships two weeks ago, though he did swim the fastest 100m fly time in the world this year (in prelims).
Phelps said he committed mistakes at Nationals that a swimmer would make at age 11 or 12. Those mistakes included misjudging his turns and finishes at walls.
It’s Phelps’ first international meet after a 20-month competitive retirement following the London Olympics. He is not yet committed to attempting a run to the Rio 2016 Olympics. This meet, the biggest competition of the year, is another building block.
“Taking it with me for the next season,” Phelps said. “Then back to the drawing board.”