USA Swimming may let Phelps race at world championships

Wed Mar 4, 2015 12:43am EST
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(Reuters) - Michael Phelps may be handed a chance to compete at this year's world championships in Russia once he completes his suspension for a drink driving conviction, a United States Swimming official said on Tuesday.

Phelps's six-month ban from competition ends in April. As part of his punishment, USA Swimming also banned him from attending the global championships in Kazan in early August.

However, USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus told that Phelps may yet be allowed to participate at the meet in Russia.

"It's complicated, but there are ways in which it could happen," Wielgus said. "There's a pathway for things to be reconsidered... or considered."

Phelps has yet to comment publicly on whether or not he might swim in Russia but is expected to make his comeback at a U.S. Grand Prix meet in Arizona next month.

The 29-year-old has already qualified for the American world championships team in three individual events: 100 meters freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m medley. He could also expect to be selected for three relays.

Phelps announced he was quitting the sport following the 2012 London Olympics after he signed off with a record tally of 18 gold medals dating back to Athens 2004.

However, he had a change of heart last year and decided to get back in the pool and set his sights on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

This year's world championships were supposed to form a major part of his preparations but his plans were ruined when he was charged with a drink driving offence in December.   Continued...

Aug 10, 2014; Irvine, CA, USA; Michael Phelps reacts after placing second in the 200m individual medley in 1:56.55 in the 2014 USA National Championships at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/REUTERS