Celebrity swim

Though already Olympic-sized, the Myers-McLoraine Pool seemed even bigger this week when eight-time Athens medalist Michael Phelps dove in for a workout. Phelps, who is touring with U.S. teammates Ian Crocker and Lenny Krayzelburg for Disney’s “Swim With The Stars” show, called the University early Wednesday morning to request some practice time between stops. At 11 a.m. the 6-4, 195-pound 19-year-old arrived at the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center and swam for an hour. His 200-meter backstroke, one of the only events that didn’t garner him an Athens medal, was timed at 1:48, seven seconds faster than the pool record.

Nearly everybody who caught wind of America’s hottest sports celebrity was excited to bask in swimming greatness. Phelps accommodated the attention gracefully, staying around after his practice to answer questions and pose for pictures. “Once everyone realized that there was an Olympian swimming in our pool, people started coming out of the woodwork with their cameras,” fourth-year swimmer Dennis Connolly said. “Most everybody was in awe of him—especially the girls. For a 19-year-old, he handles all the attention given him incredibly.” With Phelps’s large signature now scrawled on the men’s swim team’s locker room door, Ratner has its own piece of the 2004 Olympics.

Sean I. Ahmed, ’06

09-17-04_image-1_thumb.jpg 09-17-04_image-2_thumb.jpg 09-17-04_image-3_thumb.jpg

Photos by Dennis Connolly, '06.

September 17, 2004