Like most of us, Michael Phelps is a creature of habit. He still finds himself popping out of bed at 6 a.m., ready to train.
"I wish I could sleep a little longer," Phelps said. "I've been used to getting up early the last 20 years. We're going to work on getting on a little different schedule."
Phelps can sleep later now. In fact, he can do almost anything he wants. The 27-year-old capped off his swimming career in London as the most decorated Olympian ever, capturing 18 gold medals – twice as many as any other competitor – and 22 medals overall. At this point, the only item left on his to-do list is signing retirement documents, which means he won't be subjected to regular doping tests.
"I haven't officially retired yet," Phelps said, "but very soon, I will be signing those papers and it will be official."
Phelps' immediate plans are uncertain. There will be lots of traveling, for sure. But this time he wants to work on his golf game. Meaning work on it the right way, not just showing up and taking a few hacks at the little white ball. He's considering taking a trip to the beach, which he never wanted to do while he was a competitive swimmer.
"If I go swimming any place, it will probably be in the ocean," Phelps said. "I will actually enjoy getting in the water at the beach. I've been on a couple of vacations before, but I never wanted to get around water because I spent so much time in the water. Hopefully, I can jump in now and actually enjoy it, just splashing around with my friends."
He's spent so much time and energy on swimming and doing well in the Olympics, that he hasn't really focused on what he wants to do next. But, he does know that he doesn't want to swim competitively.
"I don't even know where to begin," Phelps said. "I'm just going to take it one step at a time, one day at a time. If I want to do something, I'm just going to do it."
Right now, Phelps is primarily focused on relaxing. He's been a competitive swimmer for about two decades, and he's been at the top of the sport for almost 12 years.
"The biggest thing I really want to do is travel and see a bunch of the world," he said.