"--IANS/EFE"
Washington, April 15 - US Olympic champion Michael Phelps plans a return to competitive swimming for the first time since the 2012 London Olympic Games, USA Swimming said Monday.

Phelps is scheduled to take part in an April 24-26 event at Mesa, Arizona, with the goal of getting back into a competitive environment, according to a statement from USA Swimming.

With his astonishing collection of 22 Olympic medals including 18 gold, Phelps will be entered in the 50- and 100-metre freestyles and also in the 100-metre butterfly at the meet in Mesa.

Also entered in the Mesa competition besides Phelps will be his compatriots and fellow Olympic medalists Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky, USA Swimming said.

The national governing body of competitive swimming in the US also confirmed that Phelps has already signed up for more swim meets in May and June.

The dates chosen by Phelps could show that his goal is to see, when the month of August rolls around, if he's ready to compete in the national eliminations in Irvine, California, where the teams will be chosen to compete in the 2015 world championship.

Many feel that Phelps has the ulterior motive of making it to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The 28-year-old swimmer promised after the London Olympics that he would not swim in official competitions after age 30, and for that reason the people close to him give little importance to his current return to swimming.

But Phelps, the most decorated athlete in the history of the Olympic Games, has always been known for unexpected decisions.

--IANS/EFE

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