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Michael Phelps to return to swimming this month

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Michael Phelps is ending his retirement, with the U.S. Olympic Committee announcing that he is expected to return to competitive swimming later this month.

Phelps, who will turn 29 in June, will compete in the Arena Grand Prix on April 24-26 in Mesa, Ariz. That’s the next logical step for the Baltimore swimmer, who has won 22 Olympic medals and resumed training last fall. Phelps is the most decorated athlete in the history of the Olympics with 18 golds in the last three Summer Games and this could be the first move toward competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Phelps, an active poster on social media, has had no comment about the report yet. His last Twitter and Facebook post was a congratulatory message to Masters champion Bubba Watson.

Most likely, he will begin with events like the 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle. “Something short to see if he’s got any speed or how his strokes are doing, that kind of thing,” Bob Bowman, his long-time coach, told USA Today recently. He will “probably” add more events in time, Bowman said. Bowman told the Baltimore Sun that 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 in 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.”

The U.S. Olympic Committee tweeted Phelps’s return this morning:

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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