Phelps to relocate to Arizona to keep training under Bowman
May. 14, 2015
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Michael Phelps is happy for a change of scenery.
His biggest rival, Ryan Lochte, can relate.
Phelps said Thursday he will relocate to Tempe, Arizona, to continue training under longtime coach Bob Bowman. Phelps currently lives and trains in Baltimore but is making the move after Bowman was hired as the men's and women's swimming coach at Arizona State.
"It's going to be different," Phelps said as he prepared to compete in Charlotte this weekend. "I get my Vitamin D year round, which is nice. I get to be tan all year, which is also nice. But I'm somebody who loves changes. If we do the same thing in training month after month, I get sick of it."
Lochte made a similar move in October 2013, relocating from Florida to Charlotte to join SwimMAC Carolina's elite-level program and train under NCAA championship-winning coach David Marsh.
Under Bowman's tutelage, Phelps became the Olympics' most-decorated athlete, with 22 total medals and 18 golds. After coming off a six-month suspension levied by USA Swimming, he is training for the 2016 Rio Games.
Phelps called the move a new opportunity not just for Bowman, but for himself and fiancee Nicole Johnson.
"It's 12 months of being on the golf course," he said. "I'm not nervous about it. I think I'm more excited about it. It's sort of a new beginning."
This is Bowman's second stint as a college coach. He led Michigan's program from 2005-2008, while also coaching Phelps.
"I know what I'm getting into, whereas when I went to Ann Arbor, it was a completely new world," Bowman said. "On this one, I've had a lot more input on how things are going to be. It's a little more tailor-made for everyone's needs, what I need.
"The thing I'm most excited about is getting to work in the university environment again. It's kind of stimulating on all levels."
Phelps is entered in six events this weekend, and he said he plans to swim in every one. Lochte is entered in seven, but he will need to drop one before prelims begin Friday.
"I would like to challenge myself to see how much I can put on the line, how much I can force my body to hurt, and see what happens," Phelps said. "What do I have to lose here? Nothing."
In what Lochte calls "one of the best rivalries in sports," the two could go head-to-head in as many as five events — the 100- and 200-meter freestyle, the 100 butterfly, the 100 backstroke and the 200 individual medley. Lochte is the current world-record holder in the 200 I.M., while Phelps holds the record in the 100 butterfly.
"We just want to stand up on those blocks and race," Lochte said. "I can't see myself retiring anytime soon, because I'm having so much fun. To me, what makes this sport so much fun is the racing. Just that excitement of going head-to-head with the top swimmers in the world, that's what keeps me going."
In the last meet in April in Mesa, Arizona, the two went head-to-head in three events. Phelps won twice — the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle — in his first competition after the suspension for driving while impaired and speeding charges. Lochte won the 200 I.M.
"The best thing about our rivalry is that no matter who wins or loses at the end of the day, we don't hold a grudge against each other," Lochte said. "We can easily go out to dinner, hang out and not talk about swimming, and just have a good time. Then once we get to the pool, it's showtime. It's every person for themselves."