Many people called Michael Phelps un-retiring from swimming. It was just hard to buy the greatest Olympian in US history hanging up his trunks for good. Everyone could see that he was still in great shape and that he’d still probably be one of the best in the world in 2016.
But when he officially announced his return a couple weeks ago, no one (including his coach) was sure how things would go in his first few races back.
Well, after just one heat it’s very safe to say — he’s baacckkk.
Not only did Phelps return to the pool in typical gold medalist fashion by putting up the best time, he also beat his top rival Ryan Lochte.
“I felt like a summer league swimmer. I should have my heat and lane written on my hand in case I forget it. I didn’t want to wait any more. I wanted to get up and get this first race done,” said Phelps on his first race back jitters.
He then had this to say on his 52.84 time, which was slightly better than Lochte’s time of 52.94:
“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 about it. We leave everything in the pool when we race each other.”
The two swimming stars will now compete in the 100-meter butterfly tomorrow.
It’s incredible to think that Phelps could return to top form so quickly after being ‘over’ swimming just less than two years ago. But it’s clear that once he got away from it all and recharged his mental battery, that he got back in the right mindset to compete at the highest level.