Michael Phelps, without Speedo, loses to Ryan Lochte


(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Perhaps Michael Phelps should’ve stuck with Speedo.

In his first race since parting ways with the sports apparel company, Phelps, now wearing an Arena-brand suit, failed to hit the wall before Olympic teammate and rival Ryan Lochte during the Mesa Grand Prix’s men’s 100-meter butterfly final on Thursday. It also probably didn’t help that Phelps spent 18 months out of the competition pool.

“After dazzling the crowd during morning prelims with a come-from-behind victory, Michael Phelps received his first reminder that, while he’s been away from the competition pool, the rest of the world kept swimming,” Reach for the Wall writes.

With that in mind, however, Phelps still did quite well. While Lochte finished in first with a time of 51.93 seconds (the second-best time in the world this year, Reach for the Wall notes), Phelps finished at 52.13. That time tied for the fourth-best in the world this year. Not bad.

Phelps, 28, seemed in good spirits after the race. And so was Lochte, 29, as the two joked with each other during a post-race NBC interview as reported by Reach for the Wall:

“Down there at the turn I kind of peeked over and I saw him [Phelps] and almost started smiling,” Lochte said.

Phelps replied, “Why? Because you were ahead?”

Phelps shied away from answering questions about whether he’ll participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. If he did, it would be the 22-time medalist’s fourth Games.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.

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Matt Bonesteel · April 25, 2014