Hop on that back with 0.2% body fat, grab onto those giant condor-like wings arms and ride….RIDE….young Michael Phelps to ratings gold, NBC! The Peacock has issued a press release today telling the world that they have signed on to air next year’s Swimming World Championships. Oh, and next year’s U.S. National Championship.

Wait…..there’s more? My fault. Make that the National Championships for the next three years!

On the heels of the most memorable Olympic swimming competition in history, in which Michael Phelps won an unprecedented eight gold medals, NBC Sports, in cooperation with USA Swimming, today announced an agreement for the most significant U.S. television package in the history of the sport. NBC Sports and Universal Sports will broadcast the 2009 World Swimming Championships from Rome and the 2009 USA Swimming National Championships (which will serve to qualify the U.S. team for the 2009 Worlds), as well as the National Championships in 2010 and 2011. The agreement is the first major announcement for the sport of swimming since the remarkable Beijing Olympic swimming competition that saw 20 new world records in the 32 morning finals. NBC already holds the broadcast rights to the 2012 U.S. Olympics Swimming Trials and 2012 London Olympic Games. The announcement was made today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director, USA Swimming.

Michael Phelps, who has long stated a goal of getting more exposure for the sport of swimming, said: “I’ve said for a long time that my most important goal was to leave swimming better than I found it and this move to network coverage on NBC of our major championships is a dream come true and a big step in that direction.”

Again, I don’t know how a Sport that doesn’t really have a “season” can succeed in something other than a record breaking Olympics, but I guess anything is possible. The one benefit that the Championships have though, is that they take place in the barren Sports months of July and August.

Update: Ooooh lookie what else NBC has made available to you Swimfans. Via Sports Business Daily….

“Michael Phelps: Greatest Olympic Champion … The Inside Story” and a general Beijing Games highlight DVD, each for $19.99, and an Opening Ceremony two-volume DVD for $29.99 (NBCU). NBC’s “Today” show promoted the Phelps DVD heavily earlier in the week, airing spots for it heading into and out of commercial breaks

(Via NBC PR)

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