Pick-Up Swim Meet With Inner-City Kids Renews Michael Phelps' Love Of Swimming

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Pick-Up Swim Meet With Inner-City Kids Renews Michael Phelps' Love Of Swimming

LOS ANGELES—While walking the streets of poverty-stricken downtown Los Angeles Monday, despondent Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps witnessed, and participated in, a pick-up swim meet that reinvigorated his attitude towards the sport. "It had gotten to a point where all I cared about was winning gold medals, but seeing those kids—many of whom had absolutely nothing but their dreams—race the 400-meter individual medley and the 200-meter freestyle for the pure joy of it all brought me back to why I got into the sport in the first place," said Phelps, who reportedly won the respect of the swimmers and ultimately earned the right to come back to the Compton slum after the Olympics for September's pick-up invitational. "It was just like when I was coming up in the sport: 48 kids getting together on a Saturday, two captains picking a team, the divers going to their own section of the pool, and basically just having a good, old-fashioned, playground-rules three-hour swim meet." Phelps finished second in the 100-meter butterfly and fifth in the 200-meter individual medley.

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