The most decorated Olympian of all time, swimmer Michael Phelps, made an appearance at the facilities of Presidential Pools, based in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert, Ariz.
Phelps toured the facilities and met with employees and their children, signing photographs and posing for pictures with them. The athlete also addressed approximately 30 children at a swim school that the Pool & Spa News Top Builder occasionally presents for its customers.
“It was fantastic,” said Presidential Pools CEO Tim Murphy. “It was great even for our employees, just hanging out and seeing Michael Phelps in our office. It was great to see the community involved.”
The legendary athlete was there largely to promote the Michael Phelps Signature Spa Series by Master Spas. Presidential Pools is the first Master Spas dealer to host Phelps, in large part because he is training there locally for this year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Two television stations covered the event, and the athlete was interviewed for a live remote by the local sports radio station with which Presidential advertises.
“I like sports [radio] because we feel that people follow sports in Phoenix,” Murphy said. “A lot of it is live and informative, and it hits our demographics. People listen throughout the year for updates.”
Hosting Phelps was no mean feat. It took plenty of negotiation and compliance with several stipulations. To prevent mobs from forming, the visit could not be publicized. Visitors could come by invitation only. TV crews were allowed with the understanding that their segments would be broadcast that night, well after Phelps left the premises. The radio remote was done last, so Phelps could vacate immediately afterward.
Phelps has won 22 medals (18 of them gold) in three Olympiads. He currently trains on the campus of Arizona State University in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe, where his coach, Bob Bowman, recently took over as head coach of the swim team.