Michael Phelps to Dive Into Competition Again

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USA Swimming has distributed a press release announcing that Baltimore’s Michael Phelps will compete in Arizona next week — along with other Olympic champions — at the Arena Grand Prix. It will be his first competitive swim since the 2012 Olympics.

Do you think his return to swimming means he’s training for the 2016 Olympics?

His coach Bob Bowman told ABC News Phelps is not sure at this point. “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.”

Here’s the press release:

Olympic gold medalists and world record holders Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md.), Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.) are expected to headline a star-studded field for next week’s Arena Grand Prix at Mesa, slated for April 24-26 at the Skyline Aquatic Center.

In addition to the record-setting trio of Phelps, Lochte and Ledecky, Olympic medalists with Arizona ties expected to compete include Tucson resident Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.) and Tucson native Caitlin Leverenz. University of Arizona NCAA champions Kevin Cordes (Naperville, Ill.) and Margo Geer (Milford Center, Ohio) also are slated to swim.

Other top U.S. athletes expected to compete in Mesa include Olympic medalists Nathan Adrian (Bremerton, Wash.), Elizabeth Beisel (Saunderstown, R.I.), Tyler Clary (Riverside, Calif.), Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo, Calif.), Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.), Anthony Ervin (Valencia, Calif.), Jimmy Feigen (San Antonio, Texas) and Allison Schmitt (Canton, Mich.).

A record-setting 22-time Olympic Games medalist, Phelps is expected to swim competitively for the first time since winning six medals, four of them gold, at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The more than 500 athletes expected to compete include nearly 50 members of the USA Swimming National Team.

The action begins Thursday, April 24 and continues through Saturday, April 26 with prelims at 9 a.m. MST followed by finals at 5 p.m. MST.

Tickets are required for each session and can be ordered online through Tuesday or purchased at the pool. Single-session tickets cost $5 for prelims and $10 for finals, and an all-session ticket is available for $40. Visitmesagrandprix.com for ticket and event details.

Universal Sports Network will televise live coverage from the Arena Grand Prix at Mesa on Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26 at 8 p.m. EDT. Click here to find Universal Sports Network on your television provider. Additionally, a live webcast of the entire meet will be streamed online Thursday through Saturday viausaswimming.org.

The Arena Grand Prix at Mesa is the fourth stop of USA Swimming’s 2013-14 Arena Grand Prix Series, which provides the nation’s best swimmers six opportunities to face top-flight competition on U.S. soil.

As part of USA Swimming’s partnership with Arena, the Arena Grand Prix Series will offer swimmers the opportunity to take home prize money for top finishes in all individual Olympic-distance events. In total, $150,000 in prize money is available to be distributed over the course of the six-meet series. At each meet, $500 will be awarded for a first-place finish, $300 for second and $100 for third in all individual events. Arena is serving as the title sponsor for the Arena Grand Prix Series for the second straight season.

In addition to the prize money, swimmers will compete for a Series grand prize from BMW. For the first time in the history of the Series, BMW will give the highest-scoring eligible male and female U.S. swimmer a one-year lease of a BMW ActiveHybrid 3 Series.

Male and female overall Arena Grand Prix Series champions will be honored at the conclusion of the 2013-14 series based on the number of points accumulated throughout the six meets. Participants will be awarded points in each individual Olympic event throughout the duration of the Series (Five points for first, three for second, one point for third place).

Dwyer and France’s Yannick Agnel currently top the men’s Arena Grand Prix Series standings after three of six meets with 27 points each, while Megan Romano (Jacksonville, Fla.) leads the women’s standings with 27.5 points. All three series leaders are slated to swim in Mesa. Click here for a complete leaderboard and additional series information.

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