May 6, 2015 / 1:18 AM / 3 years ago

Phelps among top-flight field for Charlotte meet

(Reuters) - Michael Phelps will take his next step toward an Olympic return at the 2016 Rio Games when he headlines a top-flight field at next week’s Arena Pro Swim Series event in Charlotte, USA Swimming said on Tuesday.

Michael Phelps swims in the men's 200m butterfly semifinal during the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Nebraska, June 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Other competitors in the May 14-17 meet in North Carolina include Olympic gold medalists Nathan Adrian, Natalie Coughlin and Ryan Lochte.

Phelps only returned to competition last month in Arizona after serving a six-month ban for a drunk driving conviction.

The 18-times Olympic gold medalist, who turns 30 next month, won two events and earned three medals from three finals at the Arizona meet.

In the opening-day, Phelps won the 100 meters butterfly in 52.38 seconds over long-time rival Lochte.

On the second day of competition, Phelps scratched the 100m backstroke to focus on the 400m freestyle preliminary and finished 17th overall in 4:02.67.

On the closing day, Phelps won the 100m freestyle in 49.72, and was third in the 200 individual medley at 2:00.01.

Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue

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