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Phelps to come out of retirement

ESPN staff
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Michael Phelps to compete for the first time since 2012 London Olympics

Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement, taking the first step towards possibly swimming at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Phelps, a 22-time Olympic medalist, will compete in his first event since London 2012 at a meet in Arizona on April 24-26.

USA Swimming announced on Monday that Phelps is expected to join fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte at the Arena Grand Prix at Skyline Aquatic Center.

There were several suggestions last year that Phelps was getting ready to reverse his decision to retire following the London Games, where he won four gold medals and two silvers, after he returned to training in the autumn and re-entered the U.S. drug-testing programme.

He has completed his six-month waiting period to be eligible for competition by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

The swimmer's longtime coach, Bob Bowman, revealed that Phelps is entered in the 50 metres. 100 metres freestyle and 100 metres butterfly for the upcoming meet, but moved to play down expectations.

"He's just going to test the waters a little bit and see how it goes," Bowman told the Associated Press. "I wouldn't say it's a full-fledged comeback.

"He's gotten back into good shape since September. He can give a good effort and certainly not be embarrassed. He's in enough shape to swim competitively.

"He's just really enjoying it. 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, who turns 29 in June, is the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. His medal haul from the last three Olympic Games includes 18 golds. He also broke Mark Spitz's record for a single Olympics by winning eight golds at Beijing in 2008.

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