Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 18 gold medals and 22 medals overall, may return to the pool competitively.
Phelps' longtime coach Bob Bowman said the 28-year-old may possibly compete in a meet this spring or summer, and could join the U.S. team for the 2015 World Championships, according to a report this week from Philip Hirsch of the Chicago Tribune. He has already entered the anti-doping program, which is necessary to begin competing.
The team will compete this summer in Irvine, Calif. as part of the selection process for the '15 World Championships. Adding to the speculation, Bowman gave a cryptic sort of comment suggesting Phelps could perhaps swim for the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
“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.”
If the Towson, Maryland-native resumes competitive swimming, Bowman said the man affectionately dubbed the "flying fish" will probably look to win in shorter events such as the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly; he already won gold medals in the 100 and 200 butterfly, and 200 and 400 individual medley and 200 freestyle.
Bowman said Phelps is "definitely in shape" and is now training four to five days per week, recently participating in one of Bowman's programs at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Phelps currently holds a record 22 Olympic medals. SI PHOTOS: Phelps Frame-By-Frame