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Michael Phelps coming out of retirement

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Michael Phelps coming out of retirement
Michael Phelps showed up to a Baltimore court Friday morning where he pled guilty to driving under the influence. Phelps was given a one-year suspended sentence and 18 months probation, meaning if he screws up in the next 18 months, he goes behind bars for a year. The Olympic hero arrived with his mom, sister and girlfriend, Miss California 2010 Nicole Johnson.
IRVINE, CA - AUGUST 06: Michael Phelps reacts after his seventh place finish in the Men's 100 Meter Freestyle Final during the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships at the Woollett Aquatic Center on August 6, 2014 in Irvine, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
The past few days have been extremely difficult.
I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself.
I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself.
Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual,
and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.
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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."

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