Dublin: 16°C Tuesday 21 September 2021
Advertisement

Olympic great Michael Phelps ending retirement

The big Baltimore man is going to ‘test the waters’ according to his coach.

Image: ASSOCIATED PRESS

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 on 24-26 April.

Bob Bowman, the swimmer’s long-time coach, told The Associated Press today 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 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 most successful 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.”

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

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.

Manny Pacquiao’s mam really gets into it when her son fights

Runner dies after collapsing at finish line of London Marathon

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS (1)