Michael Phelps finished second to fellow U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte in his first final since the 2012 London Games.
Lochte won the 100-meter butterfly at the Arena Grand Prix Series in Mesa, Arizona, last night in 51.93 seconds. Phelps was second in 52.13.
Earlier in the day, Phelps won his first competitive swimming race since the London Olympics, posting the fastest preliminary heat time in the 100 butterfly.
Phelps, back in the pool after a 1 1/2-year layoff, took the lead on the second of the two laps and finished in a time of 52.84 seconds to advance to the final.
The record 18-time Olympic gold medalist swam in the last of 14 eight-man qualifying heats. Lochte who won five medals at the London Games, had the second-fastest time in the preliminaries at 52.94 in the next-to-last heat.
Phelps, 28, said he was retiring after the 2012 London Games, where he won six medals to push his career total to 22. Phelps said this week he changed his mind because he missed being in the pool, though he’s not sure yet whether he will participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Phelps’s decision to swim competitively again comes two years before the 2016 Games, when he will be 31. Phelps said he recognizes that if he wants to compete again at a high level, he has to be ready by this summer. Phelps opted to drop the 100-meter freestyle from his schedule this week.
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