USA Swimming suspends Michael Phelps for DUI

The most decorated Olympian of all time faces suspension from competition after he was nabbed for driving under the influence.

Rick Rycroft/AP/File
U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps attends a press conference ahead of the Pan Pacific swimming championships in Gold Coast, Australia.

Michael Phelps will serve a six-month suspension and lose his stipend for tainting the image of national swimming – a punishment dished out by USA Swimming on Monday in response to the swimming great’s recent DUI charges.

The organization announced today that, due to a violation of its code of conduct, Phelps will be suspended from USA Swimming-sanctioned competition for six months, must withdraw from the 2015 FINA World Championships Team, and must forfeit his funding from the National Governing Body for six months.

Phelps’ discipline is sanctioned under Section 304.3.19 of the 2014 Rule Book, which states: “Any other material and intentional act, conduct, or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.”

Phelps is allowed to train with his member club, but is ineligible to participate in USA Swimming competitions through March 6.

A statement from the body governing competitive swimming said, “Phelps and USA Swimming each agree that Phelps will not represent the United States at the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia, from August 2-9.”

Phelps’s monthly payments from USA Swimming will be halted during his suspension period.

“Membership in USA Swimming, and particularly at the National Team level, includes a clear obligation to adhere to our Code of Conduct. Should an infraction occur, it is our responsibility to take appropriate action based on the individual case. Michael’s conduct was serious and required significant consequences,” USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said in the statement.

“Michael has publicly acknowledged the impact of his decisions, his accountability especially due to his stature in the sport and the steps necessary for self-improvement. We endorse and are here to fully support his personal development actions.”

The measures, which took effect immediately, came six days after the 29-year-old’s arrest for DUI. Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, was also charged with speeding and crossing double lane lines in the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore.

The incident came on the heels on Phelps’ comeback meet in international competition. Since Phelps’ return from retirement in April, it seems he’s been testing the waters for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

On Sunday, Phelps, who has a history with drug and alcohol-related missteps, took to Twitter to announce he would be entering a rehab program.

“I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself,” he wrote in a series of tweets. “I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself.”

“Swimming is a major part of my life," he tweeted. "But right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.”

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