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Four reasons we're excited to watch Michael Phelps at nationals

It’s no secret that Michael Phelps has returned to swimming competition. That in itself is exciting for fans, but the impact of Phelps’ comeback effort remains to be seen. No matter what happens, we know one thing for certain: We’re excited to see Phelps hit the water at the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championship meet this weekend. Here are just four reasons why.

Michael Phelps will test his comeback conditioning at the 2014 Phillips 66 National swim meet.
Michael Phelps will test his comeback conditioning at the 2014 Phillips 66 National swim meet.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

He's good for the sport. Michael Phelps has been the face of USA Swimming for more than 10 years. Having him in the water brings star power and excitement to the meet.

He draws attention. How many swimmers can casual fans name? Only a handful, most likely, and Phelps will almost always be first on the list. After all, that’s what happens when someone is deemed the greatest of all time. Having Phelps in the pool gives casual fans a reason to watch and brings more attention to both the meet and the sport of swimming.

Everyone loves a comeback. Phelps has a lot of fans out there, and nearly all of them want to see him swim well. Watching him move from “retired” to competition level is exciting, and it gives fans someone to root for.

He builds anticipation. Will Phelps swim well? Does he need more conditioning? (He and his coach, Bob Bowman, both admit that he does.) How will he stack up against other swimmers and, perhaps more importantly, his peak-condition self?

The the 22-time Olympic medalist has entered into four events at the 2014 national championships, including the 200-meter individual medley, and the 100-meter freestyle, backstroke, and butterfly.

He’s already competed in the 100-meter freestyle, which was contested on the first night of competition. In that event, he finished seventh behind sixth other Olympic medalists. The meet will run through Sunday, Aug. 10, and Phelps will next compete on Friday Aug. 8, when he will swim the 100 butterfly.

The 2014 Phillips 66 National meet helps determine which athletes will compete at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championship meet.