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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Other Sport

Despite encouraging signs on comeback, Phelps mum on future
Reuters
Phoenix, USA, April 26, 2014
First Published: 23:42 IST(26/4/2014)
Last Updated: 23:45 IST(26/4/2014)

He did not win any gold medals or set any world records but Michael Phelps ticked all the boxes he needed in his comeback to competitive swimming.

Only time will tell whether Phelps will stick with his comeback and swim at the 2016 Rio Olympics and possibly add to his mind-boggling collection of 18 gold medals.

But for now, the signs are all good. The 28-year-old deliberately chose a relatively low key meet in suburban Phoenix for his return and competed in just two events but there were enough signs to show he can do it if he wants to.

"On the whole, I think it felt pretty good," he told reporters on Friday. "I was very excited... I felt like a kid again and that was the coolest thing about it."

Despite his staggering achievements, Phelps and longtime coach Bob Bowman have always been coy about revealing their plans and nothing has changed.

Going Steady
Both insist they have not hatched any long term plans and are sticking to the sportsman's mantra that they are taking things one day at a time although a clearly relaxed Phelps said he was enjoying himself and his times indicated he was already in good shape.

"I'm really excited about how things went and I do know what I need to do if I want to continue and want to swim faster and obviously I like swimming faster and faster every race."

While Rio may still be more than two years ago, Phelps and Bowman did give away some clues about their short-term plans. Phelps will swim again at another USA Grand Prix meet in Charlotte, North Carolina next month before heading to Colorado for intense high-altitude training.

No 400 metre medley
The only thing Phelps would publicly confirm about his future plans was that he was ditching the 400 metres individual medley - the most gruelling, long-bursting event on the Olympic swimming schedule, which he won at Athens and Beijing but lost in London.

"I'm not ever going to swim the 400 IM again. I will guarantee you," Phelps said. "I'm putting that out there. I'm never swimming the 400 IM again. That will not be a race we will compete in."

Bowman could not resist poking fun at Phelps, who also vowed that he would never make a comeback after he quit the sport in 2012.

"Is that kind of like I will never ever swim again?" Bowman asked.


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