CHARLOTTE, North Carolina - Olympic legend Michael Phelps stepped up his return to competitive swimming yesterday with a 100m butterfly triumph at the Charlotte Grand Prix, his first finals win since the London Games.
Phelps, who retired after the 2012 Games with a record 22 Olympic medals — 18 of them gold — launched his comeback last month in Arizona, where he won his 100m fly heat but finished runner-up in the final to US Olympic teammate Ryan Lochte.
Yesterday, Phelps led at the 50m mark and won in 52.13sec, with Pavel Sankovich of Belarus second in 52.72 and Singapore's Joseph Schooling third in 52.95.
The American superstar's winning time was exactly what he produced in his runner-up finish to Lochte.
"I guess the consistency is there — still, the walls were really bad," Phelps, 28, said of the rustiness in his technique at the turn and finish.
"I'm still having a tough time judging that wall at the 50, so that's something that I have to spend more time on."
Phelps also swam in the 200m freestyle heats on Friday morning, squeezing into the final but opting not to swim it in the evening.