Ryan Lochte says Michael Phelps will return to pool

No word from decorated Olympic champion himself

Michael Phelps said the 2012 Olympics marked his final competition in the pool. But Ryan Lochte said he thinks Phelps will be back for the 2016 Olympics, as well. Enlarge photo

Associated Press file photo

Michael Phelps said the 2012 Olympics marked his final competition in the pool. But Ryan Lochte said he thinks Phelps will be back for the 2016 Olympics, as well.

INDIANAPOLIS – Michael Phelps has said he’s happy to no longer smell chlorine. He won’t be smelling it this week. For the first time since 1999, swimmers will compete in a national championship meet without Phelps.

Still, expect the most decorated Olympian of all time back for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, Ryan Lochte said Monday. “I think we all know by now that he’s coming back,” Lochte said after a brief workout for world championship trials, which begin Tuesday. “I don’t think it’s really a surprise. It’s just a matter of when is he going to get back in the full swing of training.”

Phelps’ longtime coach Bob Bowman is a betting man, but he isn’t placing bets. “Oh, I don’t know about that,” Bowman said about Phelps, who retired after the London Olympics. “He’s really enjoying himself. He’s playing a lot of golf, and I think he’s in good place as a person, and that’s real important to me because he had a hard four years. I think it was tough on him.

“As far as the comeback, I think I’ll be the first to know, and I don’t know anything.”

Bowman would be the first to know. The two exchange text messages every day and have dipped their toes into the world of horse racing. They own a small share of recent Pimlico stakes winner Cerro. In May, they purchased a 2-year-old that could be racing by the end of the summer.

Its name? By A Hundredth.

“You can figure out what that means,” Bowman said with a laugh. It’s the margin by which Phelps won the 100-meter butterfly at the Beijing Games in 2008, which tied Mark Spitz’s record of seven golds at one Olympics.

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