Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte have each dropped out of the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
Phelps, an 18-time Olympic gold medalist, earlier dropped the 200 free from his plans. Phelps famously swam and won a historic eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games.
The decision to not swim in the 100-meter allows Phelps to focus on his three best events: the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and the 200-meter individual medley.
Phelps wasn't necessarily a contender to win the 100- or 200-meter freestyle, but some thought he would swim the event in Omaha in an attempt to qualify for both of the relay teams that will compete in Rio.
His coach, Bob Bowman, is the men's Olympic coach this year, and he could place Phelps on the relay teams regardless. But the scratches could also signal that Phelps has decided to focus on his three individual events -- the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and the 200-meter individual medley. He's also expected to be on the medley relay team, assuming he holds his form in the 100 butterfly.
Michael Phelps has been a transcendent American athlete for two entire decades now. At 31, he is still one of the greatest swimmers in the sport. However, his excellence is not what it once was. One only has to watch a Trials event, see his American and World record on the screen, and watch as he swims multiple seconds slower than those times to realize that while still a top performer, he is no longer larger than life. Nowhere is this more apparent than in what one might call his "off" races, such as the 100 free. Michael's focus is and should be on the 100 and 200 fly and the 200 IM.
Although Michael Phelps is still a good swimmer he is almost at the end of his career. Therefore he is on a downhill slope and isn't at the peak of his career. Not participating in the 100 meter freestyle will allow him to do better in his other events because he wont be as exhausted from more events. The USA is a strong nation and has plenty of other strong swimmers who can compete under his place.