Saturday, Apr 25, 2015Saturday, Apr 25, 2015

Swimming: Phelps brings big splash back to the pool

Published on Apr 27, 2014 6:25 AM
Michael Phelps at a press conference after competing in the Men's 50m Freestyle prelim during day two of the Arena Grand Prix at the Skyline Aquatic Centre on April 25, 2014 in Mesa, Arizona. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

MESA, United States (AFP) - Michael Phelps is not aiming to recreate the past, but his low-key return to competitive swimming offered a tantalising glimpse of how the Olympic legend could continue shaping the sport's future.

"I was just kind of literally getting my feet wet again," Phelps said of his return to racing after a 20-month retirement.

But he electrified the modest Mesa Grand Prix with a runner-up finish to Ryan Lochte in the 100m butterfly, and USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch is among the many who believe a fifth Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 is well within Phelps's scope.

"I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever," Busch said. "He comes back after almost two years and is barely out-touched, swims the fourth-fastest time in the world (this year) - how freaky is that?"

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!