US Olympic swimmer Tyler Clary has spent a lot of time recently training with Michael Phelps at the University of Michigan. Since Clary is only 23 years old and will be making his first Olympic appearance in London this summer, you might assume Phelps is someone that he looks up to and admires. After all, Phelps is considered by many to be the greatest swimmer to ever live. That hardly seems to be the case.
During a recent interview with Jim Alexander of the Press-Enterprise, Clary was critical of Phelps and the way he has prepared for London, even venturing to say the man who won eight gold medals in Beijing is “asking to get beat.”
“I saw a real lack of preparation (from) him,” Clary said. “Basically, he was a swimmer that didn’t want to be there. They can talk about all of these goals and plans and preparation they have. I saw it. I know. It’s different. And I saw somebody that has basically been asking to get beat for the longest time.”
As we shared with you on Monday, Phelps has been open about the fact that he lost a lot of motivation after reaching the highest point of his life in 2008. He even gained 25 pounds and claims he did “literally nothing” all day long, so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back this summer. That being said, you have to wonder if it’s in Clary’s best interest to basically smack talk the US’s best swimmer.
“I’ve always called myself more of a blue-collar worker, as far as swimming goes,” Clary added. “I work my (butt) off all the time. That’s not to say that everybody else doesn’t. But the fact that I know I work harder than he does makes me appreciate every little goal and every little gain that I make.
“And the day that it happens, when I finally beat him, is going to be a huge deal in my mind, because it would be complete satisfaction. And the only thing that would be better than that is breaking the world record.”
Phelps has done his fair share of working his butt off, too. He accomplished more at the Beijing Olympics than almost all swimmers will accomplish in their entire lives. Clary is confident which is not necessarily a bad thing, but there are far better ways to go about it than that.