-Estimated achievement difficulty: 4 for average joe, can be 6+ for those who want to rush.
-Offline: 15 (1000)
-Estimated time for 1000: 4 - 6 hours
-Minimum playthroughs: 1
-Missable achievements: Globe trotter
-Glitched achievements: None
-Cheats disable achievements: No cheats

Micheal Phelps is one of those rare games, it can be either extremely easy, but quite time consuming, or it can be very short, but take a tremendous amount of skill. Most people will just choose to meet in the middle. See, when you play the game, you don't have to play every race, or even score first. You don't need to do the annual races either. If you skipped everything, you could potentially beat the game in two or three hours. This would take a god-like amount of skill, and I don't know if it is even possible. On the other hand, you could spend up to eight hours getting every skill up to 10. This would be overkill on an unimaginable scale though. To meet on middle ground, you will have get your skills up to a moderate level, just enough to beat the game without too much trouble, without spending too much time doing so.

This roadmap is more for listing the order of things to do things, and what you want to do to maximize your success. It will only explain the specific achievements in low detail. For better clarity, look at the achievement guide.

First Race.
Start off season one by watching or skipping the tutorial. On your first real race, you are going to see a message that says, "Hype up the crowd." want to flap your hands out to your sides as mentioned in the guide to get the Hyped Up achievement. After that, when it tells you to dive down, simply put your hands up before it tells you to "GO!", and you will jump in early and unlock Hair Trigger. Afterwords you need to go for Optimum Dive, when it says, "GO!" just lift your arms up straight ahead of you, and it will unlock. Use the tips in the technique section to do a good job. When you reach the end, it will tell you to, "Put your hands down" do so, and when it prompts, reach toward the screen. This will unlock the Optimum Finish achievement. The First Finish achievement should also unlock at the same time. Assuming you were first, the achievement for beating the front crawl race Front Crawl Winner should unlock. You should already be at 210 gamerscore... In under a couple minutes!

First half of season 1
You are going to want to go through the first half of season one after the first race. Try to get first place on everything, even replaying it as necessary. You get level upgrades, even with second and third... Why not get a higher level? Try to put them in speed and endurance. Keep going through the levels, making sure to get first place of every level. Once you reach the 50m race, stop and go to the next part of the roadmap.

Optional boosting.
This boosting is 100% optional, but I suggest doing it. Don't go all out, you don't need 10 in everything, and you don't even need a lot in everything, afterall, you still have plenty more races to go. In order to boost, go to the 50m race, all you have to do is swim as fast as possible. Make sure to get second or third place, as that is what makes this method work. When you get second or third place, you get your level upgrades, but you also get the chance to replay it, presumably so you can get first. If you do accidentally get first, DO NOT press continue, instead press restart, and do it over. I'd suggest getting 6 speed, 4 endurance, 2 turn, 2 dive, and 2 finish. This essentially guarantees you can't mess things up. Feel free to do a little more or less, if you feel confident.

Rest of season 1 and season 2.
After getting done with the boosting, the rest of the game is very similar. You swim race after race and try to get first. I'd suggest always replaying a race until you get first. Even if you get 2nd and 3rd multiple times. You get a lot of level up points from these, and they will be needed if you want to win. Once you get to the annual games, just play one game, lose or fail, doesn't matter. Immediately skip to the next season (This includes season 3, why bother when if you skip you get the final achievement?) The races are not good for exp, you get the same amount as a regular race, it is much harder, and you have to do it twice. There isn't much incentive to bother. You might want to try to win the first one though, no point in trying to fail.

Season 3.
This is the final season of the game, and it will stress your skills to the max. Hopefully you leveled up enough. If not... You are S.O.L. You might have to restart the game. It isn't just levels though, you have to have the skills. If you are practically a god, you could do this season with much lower skills. The funny thing about the seasons, it unlocks any race touching the one you win. Normally, you'd want to do them all for the skills, but in the third season, try to get to the right as quickly as possible. These challenges are very tough, and as soon as you beat the right-most one you have all the achievements. (After skipping the annual games).

Congratulations, you now have 1000G, and you are probably VERY, VERY sore...

[x360a would like to thank Coldgears for this Roadmap]

Michael Phelps: Push the Limit Achievement Guide

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There are 15 achievements with a total of 1000 points

  • Awarded for finishing your first race.


    Regardless of your finishing position this achievement will unlock after you complete your first race.

  • Awarded for finishing a race in all the stadiums in career mode.


    There are 6 different stadiums to race in and you must finish a race in each. You will most likely get this while going for the other achievements as you will want to try and win every race (at least in the first two seasons), but below is a list if you want to keep check along with the Season which they are first available to race in:

    Speedo Stadium - Season 1
    Apex Penthouse - Season 1
    Skyline View - Season 1
    Tatra Arena - Season 1
    Sakura Pool - Season 2
    Perth Pyramid - Season 3

  • A title awarded when you are promoted from Season 1 to Season 2.


    See "Pool Legend".

  • A title awarded when you are promoted from Season 2 to Season 3.


    See "Pool Legend".

  • Awarded for winning a Backstroke race in career mode.


    The first Backstroke race of career mode is available in Season 2. You must win the race (finish in first place) for this achievement. Before the race is a tutorial that you have to do but can skip once you select it. It is advised that you briefly go through it though to learn the techniques that you will need for all of the Backstroke races.

    See "Pool Legend" for some tips on how to perform better in career mode.

  • Awarded for winning a Breaststroke race in career mode.


    The first Breaststroke race of career mode is available in Season 1. You must win the race (finish in first place) for this achievement. Before the race is a tutorial that you have to do but can skip once you select it. It is advised that you briefly go through it though to learn the techniques that you will need for all of the Breaststroke races.

    See "Pool Legend" for some tips on how to perform better in career mode.

  • Awarded for winning a Butterfly race in career mode.


    The first Butterfly race of career mode is available in Season 2. You must win the race (finish in first place) for this achievement. Before the race is a tutorial that you have to do but can skip once you select it. It is advised that you briefly go through it though to learn the techniques that you will need for all of the Butterfly races.

    See "Pool Legend" for some tips on how to perform better in career mode.

  • Awarded for winning a Front Crawl race in career mode.


    The first Front Crawl race of career mode is available in Season 1. You must win the race (finish in first place) for this achievement. Before the race is a tutorial that you have to do but can skip once you select it. It is advised that you briefly go through it though to learn the techniques that you will need for all of the Front Crawl races.

    See "Pool Legend" for some tips on how to perform better in career mode.

  • Awarded for Jumping the Gun in a career race.


    To 'Jump the Gun' you must dive into the pool before you are told to 'GO!'. Get ready for the dive by crouching in the specified manner (as it is different for forward and backward strokes) and the camera will zoom in to your swimmer. Stand up straight immediately after this happens and your swimmer will jump into the pool early. You will probably do this accidentally at some point through your career mode, but try not to do it too often as you will lose your bonus stamina from hyping up the crowd which can be quite useful in the more difficult races.

  • Awarded for achieving an Optimum Dive in any race.


    Before the swimming section of each race you are required to dive into the pool. You are judged on your reaction time (how long it takes you to stand after you are told to 'GO!') and the angle of your dive (how you position your arms when you stand). The game tells you that to dive well you must have a good reaction time and dive angle. This is not entirely true as you do not have to have a remarkable reaction time to achieve an Optimum Dive. Standing up quickly will help in your efforts to win the race but for this achievement concentrate on positioning your arms as the game requires. For any of the front stroke races try to have them straight out in front of you (90 degrees from your body) and for the backstroke races angle them upwards (45 degrees from your body). As long as you do this and Kinect reads your movements correctly you will be awarded with an Optimum Dive.

  • Awarded for achieving an Optimum Turn in any race.

    In Season 2 of career mode you will be introduced to turning every 50m in a race (it is done automatically in Season 1). As you reach the end of the pool the camera will change to show your swimmer turning and time will slow down. At this point you can stop swimming and put your arms at your side. There is a bar that will fill up from left to right and what you must do is push your hand out in front of you, palm open, when the bar fills up completely. This will result in an Optimum Turn. However, note that the game can award the achievement even if you mess this up (as for some reason it still thinks you have managed an Optimum Turn).

  • Awarded by achieving a Good Reach in any race.


    When you near the end of a race you are instructed to put your hands down. This is the beginning of an Optimum Finish, so immediately drop your arms to your sides. Your swimmer will carry on by themselves and once they are almost at the end of the pool you will be told to 'Reach Now!'. Immediately raise one hand up in the air and if done quickly enough you will be awarded with a Good Reach.

  • A title awarded when you complete Season 3 in Career Mode.

    There are 3 seasons in Career Mode and each consists of events that you must complete in order to progress. These events can be in the form of tutorials, races or challenges and are represented by hexagons, making a sort of map of the season. When you complete an event it unlocks each adjoining hexagon, allowing you to attempt new events. By reaching and completing one of the rightmost events you will be taken to the Annual Games. Participate in any of the annual games and you then have the option to be promoted to the next season (or retire if you are in Season 3). Doing so will unlock the achievement relevant to your promotion.

    The tutorials are very self-explanatory and can be skipped if you desire. It is recommended that you follow the tutorial for the first time though to learn each of the techniques for the different races. The races come in varying lengths and to complete them you must finish in 3rd or better. 50m races test how fast you can swim, 100m races require a bit more technique and 150m and 200m races are effectively 100m races with an 'endurance' section in the middle which help to boost your 'push the limit meter'. The challenges give you targets to reach such as earning a certain number of points from diving or a 1 on 1 race that you must win. Completing races and challenges will reward you with points to increase your stats.

    You shouldn't have too much trouble progressing through the first two seasons; it is Season 3 where the difficulty is really stepped up. If you find yourself unable to complete either of the opening two events in Season 3 then you may have to start Career Mode all over again, therefore it is best to follow the tips here and in the Roadmap in order to save yourself from two playthroughs.

    • Try to finish first in every race of Seasons 1 and 2. Even if you finish 2nd or 3rd, do not restart but instead continue as you will still get stat points (note that the number of stat points you get for each place does not seem to be fixed - for example, you may get 2 for a 2nd finish one time and then only 1 for the next).
    • When you reach Event 12 (50m Breaststroke) in Season 1, boost your stats as the Roadmap suggests as this is the quickest event and the easiest to control your pace in so that you don't win but still finish 2nd or 3rd. After this concentrate entirely on upgrading your speed to 10 and then move on to Stamina.
    • If you are really struggling with a specific race, move on and come back to it after you have upgraded your stats a little more.
    • Standing up straight when swimming seems to be the best way for Kinect to read your movements properly.
    • Aim to hype the crowd to 100% at the beginning of every race. The 10% stamina boost may not seem like much, but it does help.
    • React quickly when you are told to 'GO!' but try not to jump the gun as you will lose your 10% bonus. There seems to be no pattern to how long it takes before you are safe to stand up so rely on your reactions instead.
    • Look at the guides for Optimum Dive, Turn and Finish and try to achieve these every time.
    • Always try to follow the beat to keep your strokes in time to boost your 'push the limit' meter.
    • Immediately after a turn try to continue swimming as you were. The beat will start again soon after and you will lose time if you wait for it.
    • It may seem beneficial at some points to swim as fast as possible, but this will drain your stamina rapidly which makes a big difference on the speed of your swimmer. Unless you are nearing the end of the race and your 'push the limit' meter is full, stick to timing your strokes as the game suggests.
    • When you reach the 'push the limit' section, don't start flailing and spinning your arms as fast as possible. Simply speed up as much as you can whilst maintaining controlled movements so that Kinect will still pick them up correctly.
    • In Season 3 try to follow the path to the right that plays to your strengths/has the events that you find the easiest. For example, you might find 150m races easier as the Endurance section will help to boost your 'push the limit' to 100% if your timing is out on the strokes.
    • Don't bother with the Annual Games as they aren't great for stat increases. They are more difficult and each event requires you to finish two races. Instead just play one event, win or lose, and move on.
  • A title awarded when you play for the first time in the Annual Games.


    At the end of each season you can progress to the Annual Games which are really just more race events for you to compete in. You must participate in at least one of these events to be able to move on to the next season, so you will get this achievement before progressing to Season 2. You don't even have to win the event, just finish it.

  • A title awarded when you max out the pre-race crowd excitement meter.


    Before a race the game will ask you to "Hype up the crowd". In the tutorial it tells you to pump each arm, but this is actually a really bad way of doing it. Put your arms out to your sides and flap them like a bird, making sure to raise them high. You needn't even do this fast as you should max out the meter by flapping slowly with 3-4 seconds still to go.

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