SI.com: You recently said London will be your last Games. Could anything change your mind?
Michael Phelps: No. I've always said I don't want to swim past 30 and I know if I go one more, I'll be over 30. I don't want to ever be that person where people are like, God, he's this old and he's still doing it or he's been around for this long. So once I'm able to accomplish the goals that I have, if I can look back at my career and say I've been successful, that's all that matters to me.
I for one am concerned about the mens freestyle events which includes all the relays.
50-free, the Brazilians, French or Australians.
100-free, the Brazilians or Australians.
I think the only mens freestyle events we have a chance at doing a two man sweep in would be the 200-free and I wouldn't bet on it. Any country in the final could win.
Regarding the 400-1500-freestyle events, China! When was the last time we won a distance medal in the mens 1500-free? (Answer: 1984: [Link]
I am optimistic about the 4x200 free relay though China looks tough.
As for the 100-free relay, I have to give it to the Australians and the French.
This is not 1972 anymore. The world has caught up and definitely surpassing us in most freestyle and breaststroke events on the mens side. America has the pools and the coaches but American colleges and perhaps the parents and kids are not seeing any economic rewards for the time and effort it takes to put on a program or become an Olympian.
A swimmer ranked say number ten in any swimming event is probably making less than $50,000-a-year. A tennis player ranked number-50 is making $400,000 and that is just in winnings. Reference: Donald Young's 2011winnings: [Link]
With schools closing programs and no money to draw prospective athletes to the sport, we may soon see the rise of a new swimming superpower from a country that promotes the economic incentive to be the best.