Michael Phelps is expected to swim competitively for the first time since the London Olympics next week.
Phelps was among the headliners in a USA Swimming release previewing the Mesa Grand Prix in Arizona from April 24-26. Phelps intends to swim the 50m and 100m freestyles and 100m butterfly in Mesa, according to reports citing Phelps’ agent and coach.
“I think he’s just going to test the waters a little bit and see how it goes,” said Phelps’ longtime coach, Bob Bowman, according to The Associated Press. “I wouldn’t say it’s a full-fledged comeback.”
Bowman said Phelps is “pretty far” from being in top form.
“He’s gotten back into good shape since September,” he told the AP. “He can give a good effort and certainly not be embarrassed. He’s in enough shape to swim competitively.”
On March 25, Bowman said Phelps would probably swim in a meet “sometime soon.” Phelps had retired after breaking the all-time Olympic medals record at the 2012 Olympics but re-entered the drug testing pool last year, leaving him the option of returning to competition this spring.
“I think it’ll be great for the sport to have Michael compete again,” Bowman said, according to USA Today, adding that they decided Phelps would swim in Mesa a few months ago. “We really don’t have any expectations for what might happen. We just want to have some fun with it and see how it goes.”
Time will tell if Phelps, 28, enters the U.S. Championships in Irvine, Calif., in August, a selection meet for the year’s biggest international meet, the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia, and the 2015 World Championships.
“I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent on the radar,” Bowman told the AP. “After Mesa, we’re going to sit down and talk about it.”
Fellow 2012 Olympic champions Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky are also expected to be in the Mesa field.