CHARLOTTE, North Carolina: Michael Phelps, who is the winningest Olympian ever with 14 golds, continues his preparations for the 2012 London Olympics with five races at this week’s Charlotte UltraSwim meet.
Phelps is scheduled to swim five events at the Mecklenburg Aquatic Center, comprising the 200-metre freestyle, 100 meter butterfly, 100 meter backstroke, 200 meter individual medley and 50 meter freestyle.
Four out of the five are possible races for what Phelps says will be his last Olympics. The 50 meter free is not believed to be in his Olympic plans.
Asked for details though, Phelps remains coy about how many events he might swim in London, only saying that it won’t be eight races. He won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Phelps returned to competition a year ago at this same meet after a three-month suspension caused by an embarrassing picture of him with a marijuana pipe.
Aaron Peirsol and Ryan Lochte are expected to challenge Phelps at this weekend’s Charlotte meet. All three could race in the 100 meter backstroke on Saturday.
Peirsol is the two-time defending gold medalist in the 100 meter back. He was edged out for gold by Lochte in the 200 meter back at the Beijing Games.
Phelps, who says he is retiring after the London Games, plans to spend three weeks training in Colorado after the Charlotte meet.
His next competition will be a Baltimore meet put on by a club he is part owner of.
After the Baltimore competition he will compete in the national championships in Los Angeles. The nationals will serve as trials for both the Pan Pacific Championships in August and next year’s world championships in Shanghai, China.
Phelps did not race Thursday but Peter Vanderkaay did winning the 1,500 meter freestyle in 15 minutes, 5.96 seconds. Josef Kinderwater finished second and Martin Grodzki third.
American Chloe Sutton won the 800 meter ladies freestyle in an event record 8:30.07.