After going through rehab, America's favorite swimmer is back

Michael Phelps was down and out after being charged with a DUI. See why he's suddenly back in the spotlight.

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  • This is a public sports announcement: Michael Phelps is back.

  • On Saturday, Phelps won his third national title in three days with a victory in the 200-meter butterfly competition in the U.S. Winter National Championships, according to USA Today. He also won the 200 individual medley on Thursday and the 100 butterfly on Friday, USA Today reported.

  • "Winning's always important, but for me it's more time-based right now," Phelps told USA Today. "For one, I'm happy I didn't get run down by Chase in the last 50, that's one thing, but just for me to be able to see progress; when you are training and it is hard and it's brutal and there are some days where you just don't want to be there, if you're actually seeing success, it makes you want to go back."

  • Phelps hopes to use these victories as momentum as he looks to qualify for the Olympics next year, USA Today reported. He's already ahead of where he was last year in terms of clocked racing time, he said, which he hopes will continue as he swims his way to Rio in 2016.

  • "This will make me hungrier. Even though I did win and I swam good times, there are better times that I can swim before Olympic trials and that's what I'm focused on," Phelps told USA Today.

  • This victory of a weekend for Phelps is but the latest in what has been somewhat of a positive redemption story for the swimmer.

  • Back in 2014, when Phelps was on top of the world with an almost celebrity status and many Olympic accomplishments under his belt, the swimmer was stopped by an officer while going 84 in a 45-mph zone through the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore, Sports Illustrated reported. His alcohol level was at 1.4, higher than the state's 0.8 limit.

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  • After being charged with a DUI, he pleaded guilty to drunk driving and announced a little while later he would attend rehab, Sports Illustrated reported.

  • "I was in a really dark place … not wanting to be alive anymore," he said, according to UPI. "I look back now … I lived in a bubble for a long time."

  • Phelps said he learned a lot about himself, specifically that he didn't really feel like swimming anymore, while he was in rehab, UPI reported.

  • "Mentally, I was over," he said, according to UPI. "I didn't want to do it anymore. I forced myself to do something that I really didn't want to do anymore. … I wound up uncovering a lot of things about myself. … I saw myself as the athlete that I was, but not as a human being."

  • But, as Sports Illustrated reported, Phelps soon viewed rehab like competition, one against himself — looking to better himself physically and mentally.

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  • He lifted weights, worked out and started swimming again. And though he still had to work through issues with his father — who left his family when he was young and has had an on-and-off again relationship with the Olympic swimmer — Phelps emerged sober and ready for the next challenges in life, Sports Illustrated reported.

  • Now, as he continues to swim his way to fame once again, Phelps plans on the upcoming Olympics being his last, especially as he builds his family with Nicole Johnson, who he got engaged to back in February 2015, according to E! Online.

  • She said yes😁😁😁 @nicole.m.johnson. (Photo credit to @arschmitty )

    A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

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  • The two announced they were having a baby last month.

  • Phelps said in the above Instagram caption that he and his wife couldn't be more excited about having a little boy, especially since it fits into his plans that he outlined to Sports Illustrated about starting a family.

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  • Having not had a drink in months and with a baby on the way, Phelps has a new outlook on life — a life he fully intends to embrace, according to Sports Illustrated.

  • "I'm back to being the little kid who once said anything is possible," he said.

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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

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