Michael Phelps was formally introduced as an Olympian last night.
The United States is allocated 26 berths on the men's swim team that will go to Sydney, Australia, next month. Runners-up are all but guaranteed a spot, but with 13 individual events and four spots set aside to fill the two freestyle relays, four men must qualify in multiple events for all second-place finishers to be officially added to the team.Phelps was received by the crowd at the IU Natatorium, and his name was added to the Olympic roster that adorns the wall behind the diving tower. In effect, his berth was created when Lenny Krayzelburg got his second trials victory, in the 200-meter backstroke.
Phelps, a 15-year-old from Rodgers Forge who finished second in the 200-meter butterfly Saturday, is staying busy in Indianapolis. He had a serious workout after yesterday morning's preliminary session, plans another today and will return to Baltimore tomorrow.
He'll get his lower braces off Thursday morning, squeeze in some mileage with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club at its Meadowbrook Swim Club headquarters, then head to Pasadena, Calif., Sunday for two weeks of orientation and training stateside before he ships out to Sydney.
USA Swimming requires its team members to stay in Sydney until the final day of swimming competition. Phelps is expected to depart Australia Sept. 24.
Phelps got a break from his regimen Sunday night, when coach Bob Bowman pushed his curfew back to 11 p.m. Phelps spent time with family members, and slept in until 9 a.m.
Phelps Fact of the Day: He was born the year after Bob Irsay stole the Colts out of Baltimore and brought them here.
With this meet being held only a month before the Games themselves, USA Swimming did not hold its Phillips 66 summer nationals and instead loosened its qualifying standards for the trials.
Fewer than 500 were at the summer nationals last year. More than 1,300 earned the right to come here. More than 1,200 will have competed by the time the trials conclude tomorrow, and the horde has put a strain on the facility and some of its premier performers.
"You've got 1,300 people here, some of them kids," said Tom Dolan, the world-record-holder who will defend his Olympic title in the 400 individual medley. "I thought that's what the summer nationals are for. Warming up is like World War III. To be throwing 'bows at 14-year-olds is ridiculous.
"We're all going to swim fast, but you lay awake at night and wonder who exactly is making decisions."
Kyle Salyards of Lancaster, Pa., graduated from Hempfield High last year, and put off his entry to the University of Georgia to move to Tempe, Ariz., and train for the Olympics. He won the 200 breaststroke Sunday night, and won't land in Athens, Ga., until January. The 2004 Olympics, incidentally, will be held in Athens, Greece. ...
The men's team in 1996 included only one teen-ager, Tom Malchow, who edged Phelps in the 200 butterfly Saturday. This year's team could have as many as eight. Besides Phelps and Salyard, the notable youngsters include 400 freestyle winner Klete Keller, who turned 18 in March.