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'Phelps believes he can go faster'

ESPN staff
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Michael Phelps has returned to competitive action following retirement that lasted just 20 months © Getty Images
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Michael Phelps has only returned to competition because he believes he can swim faster than ever before, according to the Olympic legend's coach Bob Bowman.

Phelps, 29, won an unprecedented 18 gold medals at the Games between 2004 and 2012 and finished second to old foe Ryan Lochte when he made his comeback in April.

And Bowman, who in April joked with ESPN that Phelps was making a comeback as his budding golf career could never bring him the kind of glory he was accustomed to, said: "If he didn't think he had the chance to get faster, I don't think he would have come back."

Phenomenal Phelps

  • Gold medals: 58 (18 Olympic, 27 World Championship, 13 Pan Pacific)

    Silver medals: 11 (two Olympic, six World Championship, three Pan Pacific)

    Bronze medals: 3 (two Olympic, one World Championship)

    World records: 39 (29 individual, 10 relay - including eight still standing)

Phelps will race in eight events at the Pan Pacific Championships, which begin on Thursday in Australia. It will be Phelps' first international meet since coming out of his 20-month retirement and will be key to the 29-year-old's preparations for next year's World Championships in Russia and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Phelps qualified for the US team at trials in California earlier this month, finishing second in the 100 metre butterfly and 200m individual medley. He also finished seventh in the 100m freestyle and sixth in the 100m backstroke.

Asked about his form, Phelps said: "I have been working on the basics that hopefully make a big improvement with my freestyle stroke.

"At the nationals, I missed a couple of walls, I jammed a couple of walls. Those were the big things that I guess I forgot how to do. With some extra practice, I hope it's going to pay off."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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