Michael Phelps Plans April Return
His first since a 6-month ban
Michael Phelps, the highly decorated Olympic swimmer, plans to enter competition shortly after his six-month ban from swimming expires in April, according to USA Today.
Last September, Phelps was arrested for drunk driving in Baltimore after police clocked his 2014 Land Rover at 84 mph in a 45 mph zone. His blood alcohol level was 0.14. USA Swimming promptly issued a six-month ban to the 29-year-old swimmer. In December, a Baltimore judge sentenced him to 18 months of supervised probation, according to Reuters. At the time, Phelps said he had completed a 45-day rehab program at a treatment center in Arizona and had plans to join Alcoholics Anonymous.
“You’ve made a great start in your road to recovery, but as with your career, this is not going to be a success overnight,” the judge told Phelps, according to USA Today.
Speaking to reporters in Munich, Phelps said he intended to compete at the Arena Pro Swim Series event in Mesa, Arizona, which takes place April 15 to 18. In the spring of 2014, Phelps entered the same competition, ending the retirement he had announced after the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Since then, experts say Phelps’ potential has hardly diminished.
“Everyone’s expectation is he’ll make a gain. We’re just wondering what those gains will be,” former Olympic gold medalist Mel Stewart told the Baltimore Sun. “The general opinion is that he’s highly motivated to perform.”
This past August, Phelps won three gold medals at the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia, according to ESPN. In Germany, when reporters asked whether he would try to make an appearance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the 18-time gold medalist said he was taking a “wait and see” approach.