Michael Phelps to take break from swimming after drunken driving arrest

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 05, 2014 1:29 PM

(Reuters) - U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, said on Sunday he would take a break from swimming and undergo treatment after his recent arrest for drunken driving.

Phelps was arrested early on Tuesday after going 84 miles per hour (135 kph) in a 45-mph (72-kph) area, crossing the double-lane lines inside a Baltimore tunnel and subsequently failing a Breathalyzer test, according to police.

"The past few days have been extremely difficult," the 18-time Olympic gold medalist said on Twitter. "I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself."

Phelps, 29, did not say how long a break he plans to take from swimming. A winner of 22 Olympic medals, he had appeared to be eyeing a spot on the U.S. team for the 2016 Olympics.

Emerging recently from a two-year retirement, Phelps first tested the comeback waters in April at a low-key meet in Phoenix and his progress had been steady rather than his usual impressive.

The drunken-driving arrest was the second for Phelps, who has spent most his life in the pool but admits he likes to have a good time when not practising or competing.

Phelps was charged in Maryland in 2004 for drunken driving when he was 19. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of driving while impaired in exchange for 18 months' probation.

In 2009, British tabloids published a photo of Phelps smoking from a marijuana pipe while at a party at the University of South Carolina.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Stephen Powell)