Olympic champion Michael Phelps is being disciplined by the U.S. swimming team after his recent DUI arrest and will be out of competition for six months for violating its code of conduct.
The 18-time gold medalist will be barred from swimming in team-sanctioned meets for six months, must withdraw from the 2015 world championships team and must give up funding for six months, USA Swimming said Monday.
Phelps said Sunday that he planned to take a hiatus from swimming to attend a 6-week, comprehensive in-patient program following the DUI arrest, his second after one back in 2004.
He was arrested and charged last week with driving under the influence of alcohol, excessive speed and crossing double-lane lines in the Fort McHenry Tunnel on Interstate 95 in Baltimore.
Sunday morning, he tweeted his intentions, saying that the past few days had been difficult and that he was very disappointed with his actions.
I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself. — Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) October 5, 2014
“I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself,” he wrote. “Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.”
"Michael takes this matter seriously and intends to share his learning experiences with others in the future," Phelps' spokesperson said in a statement.
Phelps is the most decorated Olympian, winning 22 medals – 18 of them gold. He briefly retired from swimming, but got back into competition at the Pan Pacific Games in August.
"We fully support Michael's decision to place his health and well-being as the number one priority," said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming Executive Director in a statement. "His self-recognition and commitment to get help exhibit how serious he is to learn from this experience."
Phelps had previously targeted an Olympic return in Rio in 2016.