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Michael Phelps suspended 6 months, no World Championships

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps of the US reacts following the men’s 200m butterfly final at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast on August 23, 2014. The Pan Pacific swimming championships continues until August 24. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK HAMILTON ---IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE--- (Photo credit should read PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

USA Swimming suspended Michael Phelps for six months and withdrew him from the 2015 World Championships, which are in 10 months, on Monday, six days after his arrest on DUI charges.

He is still eligible to swim in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, the only path to making it to the Rio Olympics.

Full details from USA Swimming:

  • Six-Month Suspension from Competition. Phelps will be permitted to train with his member club, but shall be ineligible to participate in USA Swimming-sanctioned competitions through April 6, 2015.
  • Withdrawal from the 2015 World Championship Team. 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.
  • Forfeiture of USA Swimming’s Monthly Stipend. The monthly payments from USA Swimming will be halted during the six-month suspension period.

“Membership in USA Swimming, and particularly at the National Team level, includes a clear obligation to adhere to our Code of Conduct,” USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus said in a press release. “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. 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 2015 World Championships are the biggest meet between now and the 2016 Olympics, which would potentially be Phelps’ fifth Games. Phelps, 29, is six months into a competitive comeback after a 20-month retirement following the London Olympics.

Phelps is ineligible to swim in the next three USA Swimming Grand Prix meets in Minneapolis (November), Austin, Texas (January), and Orlando (February).

His next eligible USA Swimming Grand Prix meet is in Mesa, Ariz., in April. Phelps made his competitive comeback at the Mesa meet six months ago.

No decision has been made on Phelps’ nominations for USA Swimming’s Golden Goggle Awards, Nov. 24 in New York. Phelps received an Awards-leading five nominations for the top performances this year.

“We think the sanctions are appropriate, and we are glad that Michael is seeking help,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement. “We are grateful that nobody was hurt and appreciate the speed at which USA Swimming and Michael took action.”

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian ever with 22 medals, said he was stepping away from swimming to attend an unspecified program to get “the help I need,” according to posts on his social media pages Sunday.

It’s an in-patient, six-week program, according to reports citing Phelps’ representatives.

Phelps was traveling 84mph in a 45mph zone, pulled over and arrested early Tuesday morning, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority, whose documents said Phelps “appeared to be under the influence,” and was unable to perform standard field sobriety tests.

Phelps had a blood-alcohol level of .14 percent, above the Maryland legal limit of .08, and was “disoriented” and “argumentative,” according to police documents. The officer smelled alcohol in Phelps’ white Land Rover and in his breath. Phelps said he had “three or four drinks,” the last two hours earlier, according to police documents.

In 2004, Phelps was sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading guilty to drunken driving shortly after the Athens Olympics.

In 2009, USA Swimming suspended Phelps three months after a photo surfaced of him using a marijuana pipe. He was not charged.

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