The most decorated man in Olympic history is coming back into form after a one and a half year of absence from the sport.
Michael Phelps continued his return to international swimming competition by capturing a gold medal in the medley relay of the Pan Pacific championships. The talented swimmer swam the butterfly leg of the team relay and assisted the United States team's domination of the event.
Phelps started the day with a narrow loss in the 200 medley, just two-hundredths of a second behind eventual winner Kosuke Hagino but nevertheless got a good haul overall. He completed the meet with three golds, and two silvers. The first place citations came from the 100 butterfly, the 4x200 and the medley relays.
In the individual butterfly event, Phelps completed the course in just 51.29 seconds, beating out U.S. teammate Ryan Lochte who registered a time of 51.67. Phelps' performance was not as fast as his record best 51.17 but was a positive sign that he is making the right direction in his comeback after a conspicuous absence. He just started training in April and his achievement in the meet was a tremendous sign of things to come.
"It was, I think, a successful year," Phelps said via ESPN. "Obviously I'd like to win every single race I swim in. But, (that) doesn't always happen. It was a learning experience, that's most important."
Phelps has his sights set on the world championships next year where he hopes to be on top of the pedestal again. In this meet, while he garnered a lot of buzz, the day and the tournament belonged to fellow American, Katie Ladecky.
The two-time All-Meet Swimmer of the Year set the world record by capturing the women's 400-meter freestyle with a time of 3 minutes and 58 seconds, besting the former record she set herself earlier in the month at the U.S. national championships. The 17-year old bagged her fourth gold medal of the meet and tallied the sixth time that the young and talented swimmer set a world record since the beginning of last summer's world championships.