USA Swimming banned Michael Phelps from competitive swimming for six months and forced him to withdrawal from the 2015 FINA World Championships Team on Friday, just a day after the three-time Olympian said he would be taking some time away from the the pool to “attend a program.” Phelps was arrested and charged last week with driving under the influence in Baltimore. It was his second DUI.
In addition, USA Swimming is demanding Phelps forfeit his USA Swimming stipend for this latest “violation of the organization’s Code of Conduct,” which under Section 304.3.19 talks of conduct “which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming …”
Phelps will be permitted to train with his member club in Baltimore, but will not be able to compete until March 6, 2015. He will also be ineligible to compete as part of Team USA in the Worlds next year, which are set to start on Aug. 2, 2015, in Kazan, Russia.
“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 a statement emailed to The Washington Post. “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.”
Phelps, an 18-time Olympic gold medal winner, was stopped in his white 2014 Land Rover on southbound Interstate 395 at 1:40 a.m. He was traveling 84 mph in a 45 mph zone and reportedly had a blood-alcohol level at nearly twice the legal limit in Maryland.
Phelps, who apologized on Twitter just 14 hours after his arrest, is set to appear in court on Nov. 1. He faces up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine and the loss of his driver’s license for six months. Probation is a possibility.