Bonneville Phoenix Network
 KTAR News
 Arizona Sports
92.3 FM KTAR
Updated Apr 14, 2014 - 10:37 am

Olympic greats Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte to swim in Phoenix-area meet

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 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

“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. Since retiring less than
two years ago, he has stayed busy with a chain of swim schools, a foundation
focused on water safety and appearances on behalf of his sponsors. He devoted
lots of time to golf and participated in a reality show with famed coach Hank

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

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.

Olympian Jessica Hardy, who will compete in Mesa, said many swimmers were
surprised by news of Phelps’ comeback.

“He kept it pretty much under wraps,” she told the AP. “Even if he’s not at
peak performance, it’s great for the sport and each athlete particularly to keep
learning from him. I don’t think anyone wants to put pressure on him. He’s
accomplished everything you pretty much can. It’s just great to see what else
you can do.”

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.”


comments powered by Disqus