Michael Phelps, one of the all-time greatest swimmers and winner of 22 Olympic gold medals, signed up to swim in a meet in Arizona, effectively bringing himself out of retirement.
Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, told The Associated Press
that it was really all about having fun.
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"I think he's just going to test the waters a little bit and see how it goes," Bowman said. "I wouldn't say it's a full-fledged comeback. 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."
Phelps had said in the past that he wouldn’t swim into his 30s, and during his two-year retirement, he’s been busy running swim schools, working for sponsors, and also working with a water safety foundation. He’s also been golfing.
Phelps began training again in fall 2013, and Bowman said that he’s “pretty far” from being in the kind of shape he was in during peak performing years.
"He's gotten back into good shape since September," Bowman said. "He can give a good effort and certainly not be embarrassed. He's in enough shape to swim competitively."
"He kept it pretty much under wraps," Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy told the AP. "Even if he's not at peak performance, it's great for the sport and each athlete particularly to keep learning from him. I don't think anyone wants to put pressure on him. He's accomplished everything you pretty much can. It's just great to see what else you can do."
Amid rumors of a return, not too many were surprised by Phelps' decision.
Now the speculation will surely turn to whether Phelps is planning to swim in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.
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