The 18-time OIympic gold medalist wowed the crowd by winning his specialty event. In front of a packed house at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in central North Carolina, the 28-year-old sealed the deal with a 52.13 finish.
His time matched his posting three weeks ago at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, AZ on April 25. Belarus Olympian Pavel Sankovich settled for second, a half body-length behind. Long-time rival Ryan Lochte skipped this event – resting his surgically repaired knee that was aggravated from the Mesa competitions.
“It’s nice seeing a number one next to your name,” Phelps mused. "I would've liked to have been a little faster than I was in Mesa. Obviously I want to improve every time I get in the water".
Phelps and his North Baltimore Aquatic Club posse travel to Colorado Springs, Co to train at high altitude at the U.S. Olympic Training Center for 30 days. He will need all the training and conditioning he can squeeze in.
The summer is packed with three contests where he will test the waters: a late June Grand Prix in Santa Clara, CA, and two in August - the U.S. Nationals in Irvine, CA, followed by the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia.