Ryan Lochte beat out rival Michael Phelps on Thursday in what marked the latter's first swim meet after a 20-month competition hiatus.
Phelps, a 22-time Olympic medalist, competed in his first official swim finals since the 2012 London Olympics Thursday at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Ariz.
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But the 28-year-old's 52.13-second finish time in the 100m butterfly was not enough to edge out 29-year-old Lochte, who finished first with a time of 51.93 seconds.
"I'm my hardest critic, so I know what I can do there," Phelps said after the race, Yahoo Sports reported
. "But, like I've been saying this whole time, I’m having fun. I really do mean that. There's nothing like being able to come here, swimming in front of packed stands."
Phelps, who is the most decorated Olympian of all time, retired after the London Games, but announced last year he would resume training and re-enter the drug testing pool.
Lochte and Phelps, longtime rivals and one-time teammates, traded playful jabs during a post-swim news conference Thursday.
"Down there at the turn I kind of peeked over and I saw [Phelps] and almost started smiling," Lochte said, explaining his lead at the turn.
"Why? Because you were ahead?" Phelps quipped.
Phelps has not yet committed to a full-on comeback, which could include a run at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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