Wed, May 07, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Phelps enters two events at Charlotte GP


Michael Phelps is to take another step in his comeback at a Grand Prix meet in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday next week.

His coach, Bob Bowman, said on Monday night that Phelps had entered the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle at the Charlotte Grand Prix, but he was not sure Phelps would compete in both.

The events are on the same day, keeping in line with the plan to build up Phelps’ endurance, but cut back on the sort of grueling, multiday programs he once swam.

Phelps returned to competition at a meet in Arizona less than two weeks ago, his first since retiring after the 2012 London Games as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.

He competed in two events at the Mesa Grand Prix, finishing second to longtime rival Ryan Loche in the 100m fly and matching the fourth-fastest time in the world this year. Phelps also competed in the 50m freestyle, but used his preliminary heat to work on his butterfly and finished 42nd overall against swimmers who were using the much faster stroke.

“We were encouraged by his performances in Mesa and look forward to trying a 200 in Charlotte,” Bowman said in a text message.

Phelps also has put his name in for the final Grand Prix meet of the season in Santa Clara, California, next month, though he is taking the comeback one step at a time and not committing to any long-term goals.

Still, it is clear he would not be putting in the work if the 2016 Rio Olympics were not his primary focus. Phelps has already competed in four Summer Games, winning 18 golds and 22 medals overall.

The Grand Prix schedule provides tuneups for the US national championships in August, where teams will be chosen for the Pan Pacific Championships later that month and next year’s world championships in Kazan, Russia — an important stepping-stone for the Olympics.

Phelps is the three-time defending Olympic champion in the 100m fly, so it is obvious that race would be part of any Olympic plan. He won the 200m free at the 2008 Beijing Games — during his record eight-gold performance — but dropped the event in London.

After the Charlotte meet, Phelps will head to Colorado for high-altitude training on May 27.

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