Michael Phelps Is…

…well, pick your superlative. I’ll go with really, really good swimmer for now.

The coverage is pretty all-consuming, of course, but I find myself curious, so soon after number eight, wondering what Phelps’ program might be in 2012. Provided he doesn’t injure himself. Or extend the six-month-long break scheduled post-Beijing a great deal. Or decide he wants to do lots of other things outside of the pool. All of which are legit reasons to skip London. But somehow I doubt it. He’ll be there with a less ambitious program.

But what will the program be? “Mark” at Yahoo! Answers had some interesting ideas a few days ago, before the record gold medal haul was reality:

If you listened carefully in his first interview after winning the 400

IM on swimming’s opening day you heard him describe a conversation with

his coach before the race when discussing strategy. An excerpt of this

was “I was telling my coach this would be my last 400 IM…“

Expect Michael to go for 9+ in London with a different program.

Removing the 400 IM will open up his program for a couple other swims.

Remember he’s been a National champion in the 100 Free, 400 Free, 100

Back, and 200 Back (all of which are not in his Olympic program) and

once held the World Record in the 200 back. He’s beaten the worlds best

swimmers in all four of these events.

I could definitely see Phelps drop the 400 IM because he won so convincingly, just as I can see him either drop the 100 fly because it was too much of a nailbiter or keep going to try to break Ian Crocker’s world record (and stay with Mirolad Cavic, who will definitely stick around if he can until London.) I’m amused at the prospect of him taking the backstroke more seriously because hey, why not? And based on his 200 free performance, he could double up either on the 100 or 400 side, though the 100 looks awfully crowded at the moment. Whatever happens, the next four years will probably involve some mixing and matching of swim schedules, not to mention a boatload of speaking engagements, sponsorship commitments and fending off social network friend requests.

NBC is sure going to miss him next week, that’s for sure….