Swimming: Olympic superstar Michael Phelps set for April return

Olympic superstar Michael Phelps (above) will make his return to competitive swimming at the Arena Pro Swim Series, formerly the Mesa Grand Prix, in April, his coach confirmed on Friday. -- PHOTO: EPA
Olympic superstar Michael Phelps (above) will make his return to competitive swimming at the Arena Pro Swim Series, formerly the Mesa Grand Prix, in April, his coach confirmed on Friday. -- PHOTO: EPA

MUNICH, Germany (AFP) - Olympic superstar Michael Phelps will make his return to competitive swimming at the Arena Pro Swim Series, formerly the Mesa Grand Prix, in April, his coach confirmed on Friday.

Phelps is currently serving a six-month suspension imposed by USA Swimming for drink-driving, but will be eligible to return to competition on April 7, with the Arizona meet from April 15-18.

And the record-setting Olympian's longtime coach Bob Bowman confirmed the plan as Phelps was making an appearance for his sponsors in Germany.

The swimmer from Baltimore said he was really enjoying being back in the pool again.

"I've enjoyed lately more than I really ever have being back in the water," said Phelps.

"I haven't had that kind of excitement that I had in a long time. It's just me feeling I guess like me again. I'm trying to build back a base again."

The 29-year-old said he was back on form and had recovered from a "slight pelvic discomfort".

"I'm trying to rebuild basic physical form," explained Phelps, because "honestly I didn't really have a base between 2009 and 2012, I lived on what I had built in previous years."

Phelps retired after the 2012 London Olympics with a record 22 Olympic medals - including 18 golds - but launched a comeback early last year, at the same Arizona meet.

Phelps said in Munich that he was taking a "wait and see" approach to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Phelps hasn't competed since August, when he won three gold medals at Pan-Pacific Championships, but was subsequently dropped from the US team for the world championships.