The Real Cost of Being an Olympic Swimmer

By Lewis Braham - 2012-07-31T21:51:06Z

Photograph by Francois-Xavier Marit/AFP/Getty Images

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A Phelpsian Bargain

On July 31 Michael Phelps broke the record for medals won by an Olympic athlete as the U.S. team took the 800-meter freestyle relay race and added medal No. 19 to his collection. That topped Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's former record of 18. What does it take to be the next Phelps, or Ryan Lochte? Aside from the time devotion to the sport entails, the cost for hopefuls can be high, and the rewards meager. "Michael makes more in a day than most swimmers make in a year," says Tom Himes, Phelps's childhood coach at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. Here's an idea of what hopefuls could pay for a chance at Olympic glory.