FINA Communication Department

The USA Swimming Team held today, August 3, a press conference at the heart of the hectic Media Press Centre (MPC) in Rio de Janeiro, with two days to go to the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Most decorated Olympic champion of all time Michael Phelps (22 medals, including 18 titles), his coach American Bob Bowman, 2012 Olympic Champion Katie Ledecky, and USA Swimming PR Communications Director Scott Leightman shared their emotion and excitement about what will be the first ever Olympic Games in the South American continent.

Swimming sensations Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte, who was celebrating his 32nd birthday today, and Nathan Adrian also took questions from the media.

Going to his fifth and final Olympics, Michael Phelps underlined that these ones will have a special emotional dimension given that he will compete for the first time with his newly born son as a spectator.

“When I was announced to be selected by my teammates to be the flag bearer, I had the biggest smile on my face. It is a dream come true and a tremendous honour to lead and represent my country at these Games.”

“I think I even shed a tear. It will actually be the first time I allow myself to parade at the Opening. Previously my schedule did not make it possible.”

Having massively contributed to the global popularity of Swimming since the beginning of his career, Phelps admitted that this sport has changed his life for the better.

“What else could bring you more to you than the Games? Things I have achieved throughout my career have started to settle down and it is a pretty awesome feeling. I am forever grateful for the people who stayed around me, and supported me.”

Phelps also mentioned that he is very impressed with the pools and the venue.

“I always feel a lot of adrenaline when I walk into a venue like this. I have a vision of a packed stadium. I look forward to racing there.”

London 2012 swimming big revelation Katie Ledecky, World champion and multiple World Record holder since then, arrived in Rio on August 2.

Ledecky, 19, said that the London Games were a stepping stone in her career and that she has been getting a lot more experience since her first Olympic success. The US great is now the star to beat at major international meets and will certainly remain at the top of the world in Brazil.

“I have qualified for a lot more events for Rio, than in London (where she took part in the 800m). It is going to be a very busy week for me, hence why I cannot attend the Opening Ceremony. I am going to have so much fun, just like I did in London.”

A strong U.S. delegation is attending the Rio Games as the U.S. Olympic Committee announced a 555-member 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, including 45 athletes in swimming.

Ledecky underlined that the delegation consist of more women than men.

“I am so proud that women occupy an important share of sport in the USA. It makes me happy to see that women set big dreams and goals like I’ve always done for myself.”

Asked what her swimming secret was, she said: “I am a hardworking girl, and people around me helped a lot for that success to happen.”

A new record of 172 NOC/NF will be represented at the Swimming competition, taking place from August 6-13.

Take a look at our Olympic Preview here