Michael Phelps‘ fiancée recently asked him if their impending move from his native Baltimore to Arizona was “really a big deal.”
“No, not really,” Phelps responded.
Phelps, who is slated to swim six events at a Pro Swim Series meet in Charlotte starting Friday, will later move across the country with longtime coach Bob Bowman, who accepted the Arizona State swimming coaching job.
“I’m somebody who loves changes,” Phelps said in a press conference Thursday. “If we do the same thing in training month after month, I get sick of it. … This is a brand-new change. Myself, my fiancée, we’re looking forward to it. … I’m not nervous about it.”
Phelps joked the biggest difficulty may be not having an indoor pool to swim in if it gets too hot.
“I’ll say the toughest thing is, sort of, at home [in Baltimore], I was able to sort of get on a level where everything around me was so comfortable,” Phelps said. “I was in my own element. I had this and that. I was completely settled. I think that will be a very difficult thing, resettling.”
He’s been through this before, moving with Bowman to the University of Michigan following the Athens 2004 Olympics.
“I know what I’m getting into, versus Ann Arbor was a completely new world when I started collegiate coaching,” said Bowman, adding that he had more input in this coaching switch than with Michigan. “It’s a little more tailor-made for what everyone needs and I need.”
Phelps will challenge himself in Charlotte by swimming a 200m butterfly for the first time since the 2012 Olympics (Phelps is not expected to make it part of his regular program going toward Rio 2016). He added it partly to ensure he had two events on each day of the meet and partly to put himself on the line and “make it not as comfortable.”
And he said he will approach preliminary races differently in Charlotte. Phelps wants to ensure he will not only make finals but also receive a preferred middle lane.
“I’m not 15 or 18 anymore, where I can just sort of coast through in the morning,” Phelps, 29, said.
Phelps also reflected on the financial aspect of swimming in domestic meets. He recalled another swimmer asking after a race if his result would merit receiving “grant money.”
“I’m like, dude, if that’s what you’re worried about, then your mind is in the wrong direction,” Phelps said. “If you take care of what you have to in the pool, everything else comes.”
Bowman and Phelps joked of how money and prizes were not of the utmost concern early in his career.
“He knew he could buy some spinners for his car,” said Bowman, surely referencing Phelps’ Cadillac Escalade that his mother allowed him to buy after he signed his first endorsement deal as a 16-year-old (more on that story here).
“My mom was like, oh, you broke a world record, you can buy a couch for your room,” Phelps said. “Gee, thanks, mom.”
Universal Sports will have coverage of the Charlotte meet on Saturday and Sunday at 6 ET both nights.