AFP - Michael Phelps, who took several months off after the Beijing Olympics, is ready to resume training in early February to get ready for the US national championships in July.
The eight-time Beijing gold medallist Phelps will return to the pool on February 1 and then compete in the US nationals, scheduled for July 7-11 in Indianapolis, and the world championships in Rome later that month, USA Today newspaper reported on Wednesday.
"We're basically going to take this whole year to try to get him to a point where he can really get into serious training in the fall of 2009," Phelp's coach Bob Bowman told the newspaper.
The 23-year-old Phelps took several months vacation after the Olympics. He also used the time to make commercials and make sponsor appearances.
"I would keep expectations fairly low," said Bowman. "Not that he won't be able to swim well, but it's going to be what it is."
Phelps is also going to try and swim some shorter-distance events in 2009.
Some experts think he might try dropping the 400 metre individual medley and including more 100 metre races in the 2012 Olympics.
Phelps said after Beijing that he wants next year to "try some new events and just see what happens with them."
At the 2005 world championships, he entered some events off his regular programme, and ended up failing to qualify for the 400-metre freestyle final and finishing seventh in the 100-metre freestyle final.
Phelps' experience at this summer's worlds "could be similar," Bowman said.