May 5 (Reuters) - Michael Phelps will take his next step toward an Olympic return at the 2016 Rio Games when he headlines a top-flight field at next week's Arena Pro Swim Series event in Charlotte, USA Swimming said on Tuesday.
Other competitors in the May 14-17 meet in North Carolina include Olympic gold medalists Nathan Adrian, Natalie Coughlin and Ryan Lochte.
Phelps only returned to competition last month in Arizona after serving a six-month ban for a drunk driving conviction.
The 18-times Olympic gold medalist, who turns 30 next month, won two events and earned three medals from three finals at the Arizona meet.
In the opening-day, Phelps won the 100 meters butterfly in 52.38 seconds over long-time rival Lochte.
On the second day of competition, Phelps scratched the 100m backstroke to focus on the 400m freestyle preliminary and finished 17th overall in 4:02.67.
On the closing day, Phelps won the 100m freestyle in 49.72, and was third in the 200 individual medley at 2:00.01. (Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)