In a press release today announcing the headliners for the Mesa Grand Prix in Mesa, Arizona from April 24th-26th, USA Swimming has confirmed the intent of Michael Phelps return to competition, to swim his first meet since the 2012 Olympics.
This had been the rumored comeback meet for the last couple of months (after another opportunity to race sooner fell through), as Mel Stewart has hinted at several times here on SwimSwam, but this release is the first confirmation by USA Swimming or anybody on-the-record that the comeback is happening.
There are no psych sheets yet to know exactly what Phelps is swimming, but his coach Bob Bowman implied recently in a USA Today article that it will be a light schedule, and will test his speed more than his endurance. A good guess would be something like a 50 free/100 free/100 fly schedule.
Among others expected at the meet include Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky, Matt Grevers, Caitlin Leverenz, Kevin Cordes, Margo Geer, Nathan Adrian, Elizabeth Beisel, Tyler Clary, Natalie Coughlin, Conor Dwyer, Anthony Ervin, Jimmy Feigen, and Allison Schmitt.
That will make this the deepest Grand Prix field that we’ve seen so far this season. All of the biggest names are in attendance, as are some local stars like defending CSCAA NCAA Swimmer of the Year Kevin Cordes, and Arizona native Caitlin Leverenz.
Phelps will grab almost all of the attention at this meet, but there will be some other good stories here. For Coughlin, it will be her first meet since the Austin Grand Prix in January.
This meet will also be a better test for Ryan Lochte’s comeback from a knee injury. Bad weather cost him all but the final day of the Orlando Grand Prix, and even that, he admitted, might have been too soon.