Phelps, coach to assess Rio chances after nationals

Tue Aug 5, 2014 4:46pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Michael Phelps's coach Bob Bowman says the two will assess the 18-times Olympic gold medalist's chances of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics after this week's U.S. national championships.

Phelps, the world record holder in the 100 meters and 200m fly and the 400m individual medley, retired after the 2012 London Games but made his return to competition in April.

"We will see how it goes this week and maybe, if there is anything after that, we will see how it goes and go from there," Bowman, who said the Aug. 6-10 nationals would show how much progress the 29-year-old has made on his comeback trail, told reporters on Tuesday.

"I don't think we will really know until after this week. After this week we will have a pretty good picture of if he is ahead or if he is behind."

Phelps's view of his current form was vague: "It could be better, it could be worse," he told reporters.

Phelps will compete in the 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley in Irvine.

If those go well, he will head to Australia later this month for the Pan Pacific Championships with an eye already on next year's world championships in Russia.

But while Phelps and Bowman may be deliberately keeping expectations low and avoiding too much talk about Rio, the swimmer's actions indicate an athlete who is working hard to get back to his best.

The swimmer was well over his competing weight when he returned from his break from the sport but says he has adjusted his diet to get back in shape.   Continued...

Apr 23, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Michael Phelps arrives with his coach Bob Bowman for his first official practice session for the Arena Grand Prix swim meet at Skyline Aquatic Center. Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports