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Photo: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

It's been a busy three years since Michael Phelps swam his last race at the Rio Olympics. He and his wife, Nicole, have welcomed three baby boys and he has his own swim brand, all while dedicating time to important issues like mental health and water conservation.

What he's saying: I caught up with Michael, the most decorated Olympian ever, over the phone. We talked about a range of topics like mental health and saving water.

On mental health:

  • "I competed in the last five Olympics, and I can say that through my career, I didn't feel that people cared about my mental well-being as much as they cared about my physical well-being. And I think we should pay attention to our mental well-being way more than anything else."
  • "I found myself at the darkest place I've ever seen because of things I'd gone through. I compartmentalized my life for years because I was afraid to say anything. But being able to overcome those obstacles and now talk about them and potentially change even one life is a dream come true."

On saving water:

  • "This is my third year as a global ambassador for Colgate, where our mission is to get as many people as possible to save water. Naturally, water has been a big part of my life, and just the thought that we could one day not have clean water — that's scary.
  • "We can take five seconds to turn off the faucet while brushing our teeth. We can try not to take 15-minute showers. These are things we have to make sure we're paying attention to."

On the running shoe debate (Running is currently embroiled in a debate over high-tech sneakers. It's reminiscent of swimming's polyurethane suits, which were banned in 2010 after hundreds of world records fell in a matter of months.)

  • "In terms of [Eliud Kipchoge] being able to break the two-hour marathon barrier — you're showing people that things they thought were impossible are possible, which is great."
  • "As for the technology aspect, I think it does take away from the sport. That was my argument with the swimsuit — it wasn't really swimming. You didn't have to do as much work because when you got tired the suit helped you stay on the surface. You felt like Superman because you could float. So there might be some similar things with the shoes, I'm not sure."

Go deeper: 4-time Olympian believes esports will become part of Olympic Games

Go deeper

Justice Department closes Emmett Till murder probe

A faded photograph is attached to the headstone that marks the gravesite of Emmett Till in Burr Oak Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

The family of Emmett Till announced Monday that the Department of Justice has formally closed its second investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till.

Why it matters: The DOJ reopened the probe in 2018 after the white woman at the center of the case reportedly recanted her allegation that Till, a Black 14-year-old, sexually harassed her prior to his murder.

GOP Rep. Devin Nunes to retire, will be CEO of Trump media org

Rep. Devin Nunes. Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who serves as the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, will retire at the end of the year and become CEO of Trump's new media organization.

Why it matters: Nunes, once considered a moderate member of the party, became one of the fiercest defenders of former President Donald Trump throughout both of Trump's impeachments and the Intel committee's Russia investigation.

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and has "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.