Michael Phelps edges towards 2016 Olympics after he re-registers with USADA ahead of World Championships trials

Rival Ryan Lochte had predicted a comeback last year and it appears he has been proven right with Phelps return imminent

Eighteen-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps has moved one step closer to competing at the 2016 Olympics after re-registering with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

A possible comeback by the 22-time Olympic medallist has been mooted for a good year with fellow American Ryan Lochte vocal for some time that his friend and rival would return to the pool.

That would appear now to be the case with the Baltimore swimmer having already undergone two doping tests.

USADA said Phelps was among the athletes who underwent doping tests in the period ending September 30.

It means the 28-year-old will be eligible to compete in the trials for the World Championships in Kazan in 2015.

Lochte had brought up the prospect of Phelps returning last year at the World Short-Course Championships in Istanbul.

At the time he told Press Association Sport: "Michael Phelps says he has retired.

"The sport will miss him, he is one of my main friends and rivals and I miss him.

"But I think he'll come back.

"When you do something for so long every day. He is still young, I think he'll be back for Rio."

There has also been talk within the sport that the pair had a wager as to whether Phelps would return.

Phelps has returned to training under Bob Bowman at North Baltimore (NBAC), the coach who guided him since a child.

At the World Championships in Barcelona last summer when asked by Press Association Sport of a comeback, Phelps said: "If anybody would know about me coming back it would be myself and I haven't said one thing to anybody about anything.

"But I am here watching it, enjoying myself.

"I enjoying playing golf, I enjoy getting up at noon- it's a good life."

While apparently exasperated by such questions, it seems Phelps was already looking ahead.

A possible rematch with Chad Le Clos is intriguing, the South African who had pictures of Phelps on his wall as a child before taking his 200 metres butterfly crown in London.

Possibly this is one of Phelps' motivations.

PA

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