MESA, AZ - The most successful swimmer in Olympic history Michael Phelps made his return to the competitive pool Thursday afternoon in Mesa by finishing with the fastest time in the preliminaries.
Swimming in the 100 Fly, Phelps finished the prelims in 52.84 seconds, ahead of fellow American Ryan Lochte’s time of 52.94.
But in the finals, Lochte came through to beat Phelps, by swimming the second fastest time in the world this year, 51.93 seconds. Phelps finished less than a half second behind Lochte in 52.13
Phelps got to the blocks quickly in the prelims but said it was because he was so excited to get back to swimming competitively. “I felt like a summer league swimmer," he said. “I should have my heat and lane written on my hand in case I forget it. I didn’t want to wait anymore. I wanted to get up and get this first race done.”
Phelps went on to talk about his friendship and rivalry with Lochte, “I was like, ''let’s try to get in the big final. Him and I enjoy racing each other. Obviously neither one of us wants each other to win, and that’s the best part of it. We leave everything in the pool when we race each other.”
Phelps has been away from the sport since the 2012 London Olympics, where he added to his medal count, finishing with a career 22 Medals.