Phelps to make long-course return in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps is scheduled to make his first long-course appearance of the season at the Charlotte UltraSwim meet on Friday.

The 14-times Olympic gold medalist is scheduled to compete in the 200 meters freestyle and 100 meters butterfly on Friday, the 50 meters and 100 meters backstroke on Saturday followed by the 200 individual medley on Sunday.

His toughest events could be the 50 free, which is not among his favorites, and the 100 backstroke, where he will face top backstroker Aaron Peirsol.

Olympic gold medalists Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte and Rebecca Soni also are entered in the meet.

With no Olympics or world championships this year, the U.S. nationals and Pan Pacific championships in California will be their top priorities.

(Writing by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)