Swimming superstar Michael Phelps is getting closer to a competitive comeback that could lead him to a fifth Olympic appearance in 2016.
His longtime coach, Bob Bowman, said Tuesday that Phelps is probably going to get into a meet “sometime soon.”
“He looks like he is definitely in shape,” Bowman said.
Phelps, who has not competed since the 2012 Olympics, put himself back into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s testing pool last year, meaning he has fulfilled the six-month waiting period to have his eligibility for competition restored.
The coach said Phelps, 28, has been at the North Baltimore Athletic Club’s afternoon practice “four-to-five times a week” the nine months since rejoining the testing pool. He recently did one of Bowman’s high-intensity altitude training camps at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
Bowman said it was “too early to tell” whether Phelps would try to earn a place on the U.S. team for the 2015 World Championships. The 2014 U.S. Championships this August in Irvine, Calif. is the selection meet for the 2015 world team.
“If he swims a meet in the next couple months and does well, he will probably give it a shot in Irvine,” Bowman said. “But he doesn’t have to do that to have a shot at the 2016 Olympics.”
Bowman said Phelps likely would concentrate on relays and shorter events, including the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly. He has won individual event Olympic gold medals in the 100 and 200 butterfly, 200 and 400 individual medley and 200 freestyle.
Phelps won four gold and six total medals at the London Summer Games, giving him Olympic career records for both (18 and 22.)