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Michael Phelps starts over

  Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps on the podium in Beijing seven years ago.  Can they be golden again in Rio? Photograph by Eric Draper

Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps on the podium in Beijing seven years ago.  Can they be golden again in Rio? Photograph by Eric Draper

He didn’t win any events at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte, N.C. But then, Michael Phelps has dug himself a hole that he has to climb out of. He retired. He unretired. He was arrested for DUI.

Sometimes I think he does some of this on purpose so that he’ll have to start over. But that’s just what he’s doing. He’ll follow coach Bob Bowman to Arizona State in Tempe, where Bowman will coach the men’s and women’s swim team.  Phelps – who is making the move with his fiancée, Nicole Johnson – has some familiarity with the area, having rehabbed in Phoenix. Still, it’s a big move from his hometown of Baltimore – new program, new surroundings, new responsibilities, new life.

Maybe it’s just what he needs to get back in the swim.

His longtime friendly rival, Ryan Lochte, meanwhile, finished first at the meet in the 200 IM with the third fastest time this year (1 minute, 57.20). Still both have a long way to go before the Rio Games in 2016.

I wouldn’t, however, bet against them.