Michael Phelps says he has ‘no desire’ to return to competitive swimming

Its time to kind of move on, the 28-time Olympic medalist said, and watch other people come into their own

Michael Phelps wondered if watching others compete at the world championships would pique his desire for another comeback.


Phelps said Tuesday he has no desire to return to competitive swimming, but he is eager to stay involved with the sport and cheer on those who follow in his enormous wake.

In an interview with the Associated Press while promoting a healthy pet food campaign, Phelps said he is excited about having his second child and building a life beyond swimming.

For me, its about being happy where I am and happy where my family is, Phelps said. We have more goals we want to accomplish outside the sport.

It was around this time four years ago when Phelps got serious about ending his first retirement, but he now seems content with his decision to step away again after the Rio Olympics.

His wife, Nicole, is about four months pregnant. The couple already have a 16-month-old son, Boomer.

Ive got no desire no desire to come back, the 32-year-old Phelps said flatly.

Phelps has attended a handful of swimming meets since the Rio Games, where the winningest athlete in Olympic history added to his already massive career haul by claiming five gold medals plus a silver. A few months ago, he conceded to the AP that he wasnt sure how he would feel about a possible comeback after watching the worlds in Budapest, Hungary.

Well see if I get that itch, he said in April.

Turns out, it had no impact.

Phelps said the second-biggest meet after the Olympics truly didnt kick anything off or spike any more interest in coming out of retirement again.

He is excited to follow the development of his heir apparent, Caeleb Dressel, who emerged as the sports newest star by winning seven gold medals at Budapest.

The 21-year-old Floridian joined Phelps and Mark Spitz as the only swimmers to accomplish that feat at a major international meet.

Im happy Caeleb decided to go off this year instead of last year, quipped Phelps, who won 23 golds and 28 medals overall in his Olympic career. Im kind of happy to see him swimming so well when Im not there.

While he still travels extensively for his many sponsors, Phelps said hes much more involved in his wifes second pregnancy than he was before Boomers birth, when he was consumed by full-scale training for the Olympics.

Its definitely different going through it again, he said.

Boomer, meanwhile, is a chip off the old block.

He skipped the walking part and went right to running, Phelps said, chuckling. He just scoots around the house. Its funny when we get him in the pool. He basically just splashes around the whole time. Hes literally nonstop. As soon as he wakes up from a nap or his nights sleep, hes just go, go, go. Theres no time for slow moving in our family. He likes to go fast. I guess thats a good thing.

Boomer is even starting to show some good form in the pool. His mom and Phelps longtime coach, Bob Bowman, have detected a bit of the stroke that was his fathers strongest.

Nicole and Bob both say hes got a good butterfly technique that hes working on, Phelps said. I guess hes seen his dad doing it a couple of times and kind of picks it up. Hes also now in a stage where its like all five senses are coming together. He feels everything, recognizes everything. Its really fun to watch, as a dad, just watching these transitions in his life.

With Dressel and Katie Ledecky now leading the American team, the US is expected to remain the worlds dominant swimming country heading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Even without Phelps.

Its time to kind of move on, he said, and watch other people come into their own.

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