The United States Anti-Doping organization, the group responsible for drug-testing American athletes, has released their statistics for the 3rd quarter of 2013 (July 1st-September 30th), and Michael Phelps is back in the testing pool.
This is the first concrete sign that Phelps’ time back in the water is something more than just ‘for fitness,’ as reentering the testing pool is the first step to coming out of retirement for a swimmer. Per FINA rules, a swimmer must be in the testing pool for 9 months before they are allowed to return to FINA competition officially.
Phelps was tested twice in the 3rd quarter of 2013. While this is no guarantee that he’s going to return to competition, it means that he’s made the 2014 U.S. National Championships a possibility. That meet is the qualifier for the 2014 Pan Pac Championships and the 2015 World Championships.
This announcement comes on the same day as Phelps was spotted both on deck and in the warmup pool at the Minneapolis Grand Prix. He has been posing for pictures with younger swimmers all day, and the pictures have been all over the social media networks.