Phelps from Baltimore Sun / Laughlin from totalimmersion.net
What can an "average" person learn from an elite swimmer like Michael Phelps? Terry Laughlin of totalimmersion.net has written two articles about this. He says that while you can't change your wingspan, and you can only make marginal changes in your strength and cardiovascular capacity, you can "through mindful and consistent practice" put yourself in swimming positions "just as sleek as the best swimmer in the world."
This approach reminds me of AA's Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." -Dr. Ronald Niebuhr
"Fast, fluid, effortless swimming depends far more on how cleverly you avoid drag and how sensitively you work with the water than on how long and how hard you swim."