MESA, Ariz. -- In his first competition since coming out of retirement, Michael Phelps finished second to Ryan Lochte in the 100-meter butterfly at a Grand Prix event Thursday evening.
The longtime rivals provided their sport with a fast, close race before a sold-out crowd and reporters from around the world.
Lochte finished in 51.93 seconds, the second fastest time in the event this year. Phelps was .2 seconds behind.
An upbeat Lochte said that, as they swam neck-and-neck at the turn, he peeked over at Phelps and "almost started smiling."
Phelps said he was glad to be back in the pool but could see room for improvement after months of training.
"I'm my own harshest critic," he said.
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