Maryland native Michael Phelps – the most decorated Olympic athlete in history -- is coming out of retirement, the first step toward swimming at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The 22-time Olympic medalist will compete for the first time since the 2012 London Olympics at a meet in Mesa, Ariz., on April 24-26, according to an Associated Press story posted by ABC News.
Phelps returned to training last fall and re-entered the U.S. drug-testing program. He has completed his six-month waiting period to be eligible for competition by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Phelps turns 29 in June and has the most wins in Olympic history. He captured 18 gold medals and 22 medals overall at the last three Summer Games. He broke Mark Spitz's record for a single Olympics by winning eight gold medals at Beijing in 2008.
Phelps rejoined the U.S. drug testing program -- a requirement to enter upcoming international competitions -- sparking rumors last fall that he is planning a comeback for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, according to a WBAL-TV story.
The Towson native told The Associated Press in November that "nothing is set in stone" though clearly he has enjoyed getting back into shape -- he's down about 15 pounds -- and working out with his former team at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, reports ESPN.
"If I decide to keep going and swim again, then I'll compete," Phelps told the AP. "If I don't," he added, letting out a big laugh, "I guess I'll re-retire. Just don't compare me to Brett Favre."
His former coach and close friend, Bob Bowman, said Phelps re-entered the drug-testing program near the end of the second quarter, reports ESPN. Phelps would be eligible to compete again in March, according to Bowman.
Phelps retired at age 27 after winning six more medals at the 2012 London Olympics. He had long said his goal was to retire from swimming before he turned 30, the AP reported.