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Michael Phelps coming out of retirement

Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement, the first step toward possibly swimming at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 22-time Olympic medalist will compete for the first time since the 2012 London Games at a meet in Mesa, Ariz., on April 24-26.

Bob Bowman, the swimmer's longtime coach, told The Associated Press on Monday that Phelps is entered in three events - the 50- and 100-meter freestyles and the 100 butterfly.

"I think he's just going to test the waters a little bit and see how it goes," Bowman said by phone from Baltimore. "I wouldn't say it's a full-fledged comeback."

Phelps Ending Retirement

Phelps returned to training last fall and re-entered the U.S. drug-testing program. He has completed his six-month waiting period by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to be eligible for competition.

Bowman said Phelps is "pretty far" from being back in top form. He's been training Monday through Friday with Bowman's team at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

"He's gotten back into good shape since September," the coach said. "He can give a good effort and certainly not be embarrassed. He's in enough shape to swim competitively."

Besides Phelps, USA Swimming said Olympians Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky are among those expected to swim in the Arena Grand Prix at Skyline Aquatic Center.

Phelps turns 29 in June and is the winningest and most decorated athlete in Olympic history. He captured 18 gold medals and 22 medals overall at the last three Summer Games. He broke Mark Spitz's record for a single Olympics by winning eight gold medals at Beijing in 2008.

Phelps had vowed that he wouldn't swim into his 30s. His camp is being low key about the comeback.

"I think he's just really enjoying it," Bowman said. "He enjoys the training and being physically fit. He just kind of wants to see where he's at. It's more really for fun. It's been nice for me to see him swim just for the joy of it really."

In Mesa, Phelps will swim 100 free and 100 fly preliminaries on the first day. Then, if he qualifies, he'll decide which race to swim for the evening finals, Bowman said. He'll swim the 50 free on the second day and might swim the 50 fly "just for fun," the coach added.

Phelps will stick to the shorter races and some relays rather than the grueling individual medleys he swam during the height of his career.

"He's really doing this because he wants to - there's no outside pressure at all," Bowman said.

Phelps has already entered the remaining Grand Prix meets in Charlotte, N.C., in May and Santa Clara, Calif., in June, although Bowman said no decision has been made on whether he will compete.

Depending on his early results, Phelps could compete in the U.S. National Championships in August in Irvine, Calif., where teams will be selected for the 2015 world championships.

"I wouldn't say it's 100 percent on the radar," Bowman said. "After Mesa, we're going to sit down and talk about it."

Join the discussion

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emmett April 14 2014 at 10:10 PM

Well, I will say; he was a winner. He should know if his body is ready. If he deems that it is, then yes, swim.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
magic32110 April 15 2014 at 5:48 AM

Don't think a "bong" compares to gold medals; do you?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Mr. Alan April 15 2014 at 10:15 AM

In other words he didn't "retire." He just took some time off. Celebrities do it all the time. I always though retirement meant exactly that. "Goodbye. I'm gone."

Flag Reply +1 rate up
jcbbrad April 14 2014 at 5:14 PM

Why not set goals to challenge himself? It's not hurting anyone, he's done plenty for USA/Olympic morale and deserves to enjoy himself in the water; he is swimming with others who can benefit from his drive and spirit. More power to him. Hope he has a blast...

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Rick April 15 2014 at 1:06 AM

Give it all ya got Mr. Phelp's .

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dw4422 April 14 2014 at 5:54 PM

Wow alot of jealous people. The guy has done what no one else has. If he can compete why shouldn't he.....as for the dope let he/she who hasn't hit the bong cast the first stone...hypocrites

Flag Reply +2 rate up
rebawolfswinkel April 15 2014 at 12:08 AM

Great News....!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Liz Borge April 14 2014 at 5:58 PM

I wish Michael all the best. I hope you prove that you can beat the teenagers. Best of all go have fun.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
richard April 14 2014 at 6:03 PM

i wish the boy well, wish i could meet him and shake his hand and wish him the luck he deserves, and as far as the smoking weed thing, every one has some thing they are not proud of doing in their lives, and if they say they never did anything wrong, it only means they never got caught at it, and it was a jealious friend of mr. phelps that turned him in anyways, so those of you who think your perfect and you do no wrong, you may get caught at it sooner or later, GOOD LUCK MR. PHELPS

Flag Reply +1 rate up
buddyboygabe April 14 2014 at 6:09 PM

keep winning for the US, and no swimmer's, any where in this world can't beat his medals counts in their life time!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
jdvernell buddyboygabe April 14 2014 at 11:35 PM

YES...now that is the point! He is a great athlete and he is OUR's ...go USA!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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