High time for Phelps’ return

Kayla Grizzle, Staff Writer

Michael Phelps’ possible  comeback attempt for the 2016 Rio De Janiero Olympics will instill fear back into his opponents for the next two years prior to the games.

As the 18-time Olympic gold medalist rises back into the spotlight after competing in the Mesa Arena Grand Prix in Arizona on April 24-26, his long-time competitor Ryan Lochte accepts the challenge Phelps presents then and now.

“Racing against Michael, it’s probably the hardest thing to do, and I love it,” Lochte said in an interview with Jim Caple, a sports writer for ESPN.

The rivalry between Phelps and Lochte has been long recognized by his followers and has definitely inspired the swimmers to push themselves harder during competitions.

In an article for USA Today, Chris Chase, sports writer and journalist, speculated that Phelps has taken to the pool as if he had never left.

“If you can judge these things from 52 seconds in the water, Phelps has plenty in the tank for a gold-medal return,” Chase wrote. “His 100 fly, a race he’s won at the past three Olympics, was almost textbook.”

In the Mesa event, Phelps showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with when he achieved the fastest qualifying time on Thursday, April 24 in the 100-meter butterfly stroke with a time of 52.84.

Phelps did start the competition off with the fastest qualifying time on Thursday, but Lochte beat him out in the final race with a time of 51.93 to Phelps’ 52.13 in the 100 Fly.

The following day, Phelps made no big splashes in the competition when he could not advance to the final of the 50-meter freestyle.

While Phelps claimed that he was trying to work on his form by participating in the butterfly stroke instead of the freestyle competition, spectators were not impressed. He finished seventh in that race with a time of 24.06 and placed 42nd overall in the competition.

Phelps’ first competition gave his fans an array of mixed signals.

The biggest question on everyone’s mind is whether or not Phelps will return for the 2016 Rio Summer Games, a question that Phelps is doing his best to dodge.

Whether Phelps is trying to keep everyone in suspense or simply does not know if he will compete in the 2016 Rio Summer Games, the greatest swimmer of all time can still make an impact.