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.”
Phelps a vocal leader in Australia
Pyeongchang Olympic organizers published a promotional video Friday highlighting the South Korean host’s venues and its slogan, “Passion. Connected.”
The video highlights South Korea’s history of hosting major sports events — the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, the 2002 FIFA World Cup across Japan and South Korea and the 2011 World Track and Field Championships in Daegu — which was also a point during its host city candidacy several years ago.
Pyeongchang finally earned the right to host the Olympics after finishing second in voting for the 2010 Winter Games (losing by three votes) and the 2014 Winter Games (losing by four votes).
The Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9, 2018, will mark the first Winter Games in East Asia in 20 years.
The slogan was announced on May 16, 2015.
MORE: Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic news
Mack Horton, the Olympic 400m freestyle champion, said he had a mole on his chest removed after a fan emailed his Australian swim team doctor alerting to get it checked out.
Horton said he believed the concerned fan may have been a skin specialist, according to the (Melbourne) Herald Sun.
“I’ve been watching this mole for a little while, Mack should probably go and get it checked out,” Horton said the fan said in an email to the doctor, according to the report. “They just looked at it [Thursday] and said let’s take it out now.
“They checked my whole body and then looked at this one and said we’d rather do it sooner rather than later.”
Horton joked on Australian TV that he probably owes the fan a free swim lesson.
“Sometimes I was blasé and sometimes I’d see it in the mirror and say, ‘I probably should get this one checked out,’ because I had noticed it had been changing a little bit, but I guess this person calling me out on it made me finally go and do it, which was a good thing,” Horton said, according to the newspaper.
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