Marathon Swimmers Forum
What if Michael Phelps swam open water...?
San Diego CA
edited April 2014
NY (Hudson Valley)
If he trained for distance, he would win at or at least compete at distance. He probably is a natural sprinter and there's a better chance to medal at mutiple sprints than there is for multiple distance events. I would have loved for him to train up for and give the EC a shot after the London Olympics.
Lots of super-elite pool studs have tried and failed to match their previous metered prowess. Speed is obviously a huge advantage, but time, distance, conditions, and our own mental demons makes the long stuff a different story.
I never got close to NCAA cuts in the 500 or 1650, but managed to pull off a bevy of USS 25k top 3s over 8 years. Something about getting into the 5 hour mark made me better. I beat a lot of faster pool guys. There were some very good pool swimmers that excelled at OW like John Leonard, Gabe Lindsay, Chuck Wiley, and Bambi Bowman. All of them represented the USA in 25Ks, but wouldn't have been in the 1500 discussion.
I'm not saying that wouldn't be an animal, but I like our chances of closing the gap after 12 hours or so.
IMHO, Phelps was not nearly in top form in 2012. He was gassed in what have historically been his two best races; 200 fly and 400 IM.
"f he trained for distance, he would win at or at least compete at distance. He probably is a natural sprinter and there's a better chance to medal at mutiple sprints than there is for multiple distance events. I would have loved for him to train up for and give the EC a shot after the London Olympics."
The EC is not just about speed or distance or yardage. As someone said, there are LOTS of moving parts to having a successful EC, one HUGE bit is luck. There's cold, there's crew( you don't have a lot of crew for a 200 fly, there's fueling, there's dark, and there's weather. ( again, not a lot of weather in an indoor pool no matter how far or long you swim).And mental fortitude. How many of us have the mental fortitude of Wendy Trehiou? 39 hours ? Or Sylvain? all butterfly. Phelps is obviously mentally strong, and focussed, no doubt, but is he EC strong and focussed?
Looking for the next big thing.. ...
edited May 2014
I agree Suzie. And don't forget desire. One has to WANT to swim in open water. As far as I can tell, Michael Phelps isn't there yet. But he's young. How many of us are former pool swimmers? For me, transitioning to ow was like entering a new frontier. No disappointment in comparing times to those of my younger days.
No doubt in my mind if Michael Phelps ever decides he wants to do marathon swimming, he'll do it right. Can't imagine him being anything but successful. But success can be measured by means other than being the fastest. This guy has lived w/ pressure to perform pretty much his entire swim career. Would be nice seeing Michael join us in the future just for the pure joy of swimming in open water.
I don't get even the notion that OW needs a Phelps for some kind of legitimacy. We already have a sport of extraordinary swimmers.
Would you prefer to sit a dinner table and listen to Phelps, or have the craic with Ali Streeter, Kevin Murphy, Steve Redmond, Chris Derks or Suzie Dods? You can't get enough fun stories out of a 200m swim. No contest for me.
One thing that equalises everyone in marathon swimming is that speed isn't the only determinant of success.
edited May 2014
Mike can bring the Subway.