U.S. Olympic Swim Trials Media Conference

Saturday, July 2 2016

Michael Phelps

THE MODERATOR: Michael Phelps joined us last night after his 200 IM, and tonight the winner of the 100 Fly, first to the wall from lane two.

MICHAEL PHELPS: Seven. Who is counting though? I was in seven. I've never been out there, and I don't want to be out there again. That wasn't fun being out there in that lane.

Q. Michael, a few years ahead when you look back on this meet what do you think the memories will be that will stand out most to you?
MICHAEL PHELPS: Just the whole career so far, the stuff that I've been able to accomplish on American soil, and I came into these Trials wanting to make my fifth Olympic Team, and I did that. We talked so much about it, but it's so true. I came back because I wanted to. I wanted to do this for me. That's what I did. Sure, we weren't super happy with the times but I got a spot on the team. We have a couple weeks to fix some things, and I know if I want to be anywhere on the podium, some of those times are going to have to be a lot faster.

Q. Was there anything emotionally this week that surprised you, any reaction you had on the blocks or afterwards, after any race that you didn't see coming because of your circumstances being so different?
MICHAEL PHELPS: I think I was the most emotional after the 400 IM, to watch, it was kind of like my younger brother winning! And then I felt some of those emotions today as well walking into the venue today. I started thinking about this is my last American soil race ever, and I said to Bob before I went out there, I said, there is not a chance that I'm losing my last race on American soil.

Afterwards he kinda said to me he was like, "I knew you were going to win after you said that." I was determined and fired up today, and this is the best that I've felt so far this meet.

You can always say "what if." If I would have had a good turn it was probably 50.8, 50.7, which is fine, but it's not fast enough for me. So we have a couple weeks, like I said, and I'm looking forward to it and looking forward most to getting home and spending time with the little man and relaxing for a few days.

Q. You mentioned earlier the emotion of the week and having your family here and of course your dad's been around. What's that been like, seeing him in the stands as part of the group this time?
MICHAEL PHELPS: You know, we've come so far over the last two years as a family, and I'm happy he's here and a part of the group with us. He's probably been to a couple meets, but I haven't really had the chance to see him and here I have. So the other night we had a birthday celebration. They kind of ordered pizza, and we had ice cream cake in the hotel, so it was good just being able to see everybody together.

It was nice, and I'm glad he came. I'm not sure if he's going to go to Rio, but just good to be able to look up and see all of them together supporting me, and I can't thank the support team that I have enough. I feel like it's grown more and more every time we've come to an Olympic Trials, but it's the core, and I'm glad they were here to support me, and I'll say again, the fans here are just phenomenal, and I can't thank everybody who has supported me through my career.

Q. Michael, have you told Bob you're going to fire him if he doesn't come up with a good enough plan?
MICHAEL PHELPS: No, but I'm sure he'll read it somewhere. Who is going to write it?

Q. Do you feel like you have more to figure out in the run up to this Olympics than you had in the previous ones?
MICHAEL PHELPS: No, I don't think so. Like I said the other night, or last night, I've trusted that man since I was 11 years old, and it's not going to stop today. I'm sure he's already come up with some kind of plan to figure out what we're going to do to move forward and, you know, whether that's tomorrow or the day after, I'm looking forward to that because I want to swim faster times than this to end my career.

He's done everything that I've ever asked him to do, you know, in 16 years that we've been on the National Team. I don't think it's going to stop here.

Q. One of the first-time Olympians on this team had your 2008 poster on her bedroom wall?
MICHAEL PHELPS: Who?

Q. Olivia.
MICHAEL PHELPS: Oh yeah?

Q. What's that like for you to know?
MICHAEL PHELPS: One, it means I'm really old, and, two, that kinda stuff is starting to set in. I was up there with Dan and Rowdy and I saw the photo of Ledecky when I was signing that poster. It blows my mind! I was actually joking with Smoliga the other day saying -- I was telling her how excited I am and how much I'm looking forward to the rookie skits.

Those are the best! Some of our coaches were like, we better have video evidence. There's definitely video evidence, and I think it's cool to watch the whole team come together for that. But also just, like I said, that's setting in, because some of the people that are swimming now won't experience what -- sort of the shift, and I'm glad they're experiencing the sport as it is now.

As you guys know the sport has changed tremendously over the last 16 years and, you know, I've said this to some of you, it's not done growing. In my opinion, and if I have to die before -- I'll go down swinging to see this sport where I want it to be. It's not done yet; it's not done growing, not in the US, and I'm going to continue to try to do it. I said it to Peter, when I was 15 years old, I want to change the sport of swimming. Yeah, I've done a lot, but it's not done.

Q. The lament you have about your times, a lot of swimmers here could be making that same lament. How surprised are you that the times have not been faster?
MICHAEL PHELPS: A little. I think that's what Trials will do. I think there are a lot of people that, you know, the lights come on, and it's a different experience. I think for me from 2000 on, I think I've been able to experience something different every time. So, you know, it's kinda -- you gotta be ready when the lights come on, and if you're not you could fall short by a hundredth or a few hundredths, and that's the tough part, because it is every four years, and that's a long four years to wait for another chance.

Q. Your track record on retirement is awfully sketchy, so seeing Tony make it at 35 --
MICHAEL PHELPS: This is it! This is it! No more!

Q. Once Boomer gets older and he --
MICHAEL PHELPS: No, he's going to take over for me. I'm done.

Q. He is a little young to know what's going on here. In four years' time --
MICHAEL PHELPS: No.

Q. That's not going to influence you?
MICHAEL PHELPS: No. I'm done. This is it. The body is done. This is my last one.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL PHELPS: Not even as a sprinter, no.

Q. Aside from the Medley Relay, do you have any idea what your potential participation could be or would you want it to be in the other relays?
MICHAEL PHELPS: It's up for debate. I might time trial the 100 Free tomorrow morning. We had it in the schedule. I said to Bob I'm not sure -- I said this to him before I swam the 100 Fly, I said, "Let's play it by ear," and he said, "Okay. Could happen" I have to warm down. I did a 100 Fly in the warm-down pool.

See how I feel tonight. I know there is interest from other guys doing the 100 as well, so we could fire up a full heat tomorrow, which could be fun. See how I feel tonight and see how I sleep and tomorrow morning. We'll see. Obviously I would love the chance to be in a relay. That's something a lot of people do, they love to have that chance and, you know, just being able to be on a team like that is something that is very special that I've always enjoyed. We'll see. Tomorrow I could, and it would probably be coach's discretion whether or not I'm on the 800.

Q. Michael, you touched on this a little bit but as a custodian of the sport, what are the changes that you're most proud of that you've seen over your career --
MICHAEL PHELPS: 15,000 people in the stands! I mean, I remember in 2000 it was barely 3K. You know? So just seeing -- look at this place. It's like a production in here! We're on national television! We're on the cover of magazines! I had "Time.com" write a piece about my child's Instagram, you know? There are all these things that we never had the opportunity to have, and now we're having it and people are excited and interested.

When I was running to do the interview with Bob, the whole place just went crazy! That's awesome to see the sport grow! There are times where I have to be escorted over by the police officers because it's so hectic. So just the attention and the excitement from the kids I think is the best.

Q. What would you like to see over the next 10, 15, 20 years?
MICHAEL PHELPS: I honestly -- I can't answer that question now. One of the biggest things, I would obviously like more kids to be water safe. I think that's something that the Foundation is doing a phenomenal job with. Seeing that grow and grow more and more over the years. And the national competitive level, I don't know; I think that's something that my mind will have to figure out over the next couple of months. A new goal. Peter and I have worked well together, and I think the opportunities are endless of what we can do to continue to grow this sport.

Q. The times that you went in San Antonio, is it a source of frustration that you can't get back to those times this meet, or is it helpful to know that you can do that in Rio maybe?
MICHAEL PHELPS: Sure, it's frustrating to not be able to go the same time or faster than I did last year, especially because I think I'm in better shape than I was last year, but I believe I can. I'm not going to put a limit on myself of what I can or can't do. I think time will tell just what we can do. Last night, I definitely think I can go faster in that; I think I can go faster than what I did tonight, and the 200 Fly can be faster. So, I mean, it's -- I'm excited to see what can happen.

It's been since 2009 since I've done a best time, and I think it would be kinda fun to do one before I retire, but time will tell.

Q. Michael, you've talked repeatedly here this week about coming back because you wanted to. Can you articulate the love and passion and your "want to," how you're thinking and feeling as you approach each race?
MICHAEL PHELPS: I don't really think about much.

Q. I know that. You said that, but --
MICHAEL PHELPS: I don't think about anything.

Q. Big picture, try to articulate the love and passion besides just growing the sport --
MICHAEL PHELPS: I love being in the water. I love racing. I love being at this level, and just not finishing how I wanted to in 2012, like I said, I've said this so many times, I didn't want to have that "what if" 20 years down the road. For me it was strictly just because I wanted to come back, and I felt like I could be at my best when I came back. We're not there yet, but we have a couple of weeks to see if I can get there.

Q. Katie was asked quite a bit about leadership within the team and the role of a leader and whether she would be a leader, et cetera. How is leadership exerted within an Olympics Swim Team and how do you exert that and how do others? If you're a rookie, what are you looking for in a team leader?
MICHAEL PHELPS: We've had some of the best captains, and the team votes for captains. I've never been one. But this time around, I just want to be able to -- I guess no one likes me that much on the team! I just want to be able to help some of the younger guys. I've said this so many times, it's challenging being at Trials and being able to make the transition from here to the Games. You are representing your country, and that's something that we all look forward to. So just being able to help them just kind of stay in their relaxed zone, not get worked up because it is the Olympics. It's just another meet, you know? That's how I've looked at every meet that I've every gone to, go out and do what we've done to train.

I think some of the special times happen during training camp, when the team really comes together. We've had such a great team bonding through every National Team that I've been on, and if I can do anything to help the rookies, I'm all for it.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL PHELPS: I didn't do one.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL PHELPS: I don't know, but I'm happy I didn't. Don't write that! I don't want to have to do one now!

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Michael.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #2 by #315 at 2016-07-03 02:46:00 GMT

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