Michael Phelps is in shape and probably going to swim in a meet “sometime soon,” his longtime coach, Bob Bowman, told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday.
Phelps, 28 and the most decorated Olympian ever with 18 gold medals and 22 total, retired after the London Olympics but re-entered the drug-testing pool last year to be eligible to swim in meets this spring and summer.
Phelps began training again last year for fitness reasons. He’s been at North Baltimore Aquatic Club afternoon practice four to five times per week over the last nine months and recently traveled to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a high-altitude camp, Bowman told the newspaper.
“He looks like he is definitely in shape,” Bowman said, four months after saying Phelps was “not anywhere near being able to compete.”
When could we see Phelps swim?
USA Swimming Grand Prix meets continue April 24-26 in Mesa, Ariz.; May 15-18 in Charlotte and June 19-22 in Santa Clara, Calif.
The USA Swimming National Championships are Aug. 6-10 in Irvine, Calif. Nationals serve as the qualifying meet for the 2015 World Championships, the last major international meet before the 2016 Olympics.
“If he swims a meet in the next couple months and does well, he will probably give it a shot in Irvine,” Bowman told the newspaper. “But he doesn’t have to do that to have a shot at the 2016 Olympics.”
It’s been expected that if Phelps came back he would swim shorter distances. Bowman confirmed that, telling the newspaper that Phelps would concentrate on relays and events like the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly.
“If I decide to keep going and swim again, then I’ll compete,” Phelps told The Associated Press in November. ”If I don’t,” he added, letting out a big laugh, “I guess I’ll re-retire. Just don’t compare me to Brett Favre.”