This won't be some publicity seeking farewell lap, though, assuming he qualifies. He still has goals.
"They are very big and they're exciting," Phelps said, "And that's why I'm still here”.
The lead up to the Olympics has started to get serious for the swimmers, and Phelps just might be in his best shape yet, both mentally and physically, despite turning 30 in June.
Barred from the world championships in Russia because of his second drunken-driving arrest, Phelps re-established his place as the planet's most dominant swimmer with a turn-back-the-clock performance at the U.S. National championships in August.
He posted world-best times in the 100 meter butterfly, 200 meter butterfly and 200 meter individual medley that week in San Antonio.
Unofficially kicking off the pre-Rio race season today at the University of Minnesota, Phelps is in a peaceful, confident, healthy place he hardly could have foreseen a year ago.
"I'm thrilled to be going into this year and kind of giddy to see what happens at the end," Phelps said Wednesday after warm ups, sitting next to coach Bob Bowman in a room behind the pool deck at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.
Wearing a throwback Baltimore Orioles cap, a gray hooded sweatshirt and a thick black beard, Phelps reflected on his first race in Minneapolis, the 1999 national championships.
"He got dead last in two events," Bowman said, rolling his eyes, "So he was really successful."

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