19 Jun 2014

Phelps doubles workload for next comeback meet

1:38 pm on 19 June 2014

The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, has dramatically increased his workload for the next stage of his comeback to competitive swimming, offering more possible clues to his intentions for the 2016 Rio Games.

The 28-year-old American, who has 22 Olympic medals including 18 golds, has entered four events for the weekend's Grand Prix meet in Santa Clara, double what he swam at two previous meets since coming out of retirement.

On Sunday, New Zealand time, he will contest the 100 metres freestyle, an event he has never swum at the Olympics, but one that he needs to set a qualifying time in so he can make the US 4x100 freestyle relay team.

Phelps is also entered in Saturday's 100 butterfly, one of his favourite events.

He won gold in the event at each of the last three Olympics and has already competed in it at his two previous meets.

On Monday Phelps is entered for the 200 freestyle, though it remains to be seen whether he is planning to stick with that event or just use it to qualify for the 4x200 relay, which the United States have won at the last three Olympics.

Although Phelps won the individual 200 freestyle final at Beijing, he skipped the event for the 2012 London Olympics and would seem less likely to add it for Rio after saying he wanted to reduce his programme.

He entered the 200 freestyle at a Grand Prix meet in Charlotte last month but did not compete in the final after swimming fast enough in the heats to qualify for this year's US national championships in California.

For Tuesday, Phelps has entered the 200 individual medley, another event he won at the past three Olympics.