Michael Phelps swam butterfly in a 50m freestyle heat and finished seventh at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Ariz., on Friday, his second and final event at his first meet since the London Olympics.
Phelps clocked 24.06 seconds and did not qualify for the evening finals, placing 42nd overall out of 89 swimmers across all heats. Olympic 100m freestyle champion Nathan Adrian won Phelps’ heat in 22.75.
Phelps made a rare appearance in lane 8, wearing a white cap and a dark jammer swimsuit. He was not expected to have one of the best times swimming a slower stroke than everybody else.
Phelps is entered for the next USA Swimming Grand Prix event in Charlotte, N.C., from May 15-18, said his coach, Bob Bowman.
“I think it’s a good starting point,” Phelps said of Mesa. “Just being able to get some races back under my belt. The schedule that was today wasn’t really ideal for what I should swim at this very moment.”
The 22-time Olympic medalist has unretired, but he hasn’t committed to making a bid for the Rio 2016 Olympics, which would be his fifth Games.
On Thursday, Phelps finished second to longtime rival Ryan Lochte in a 100m butterfly race, his first competitive final in 20 months. Phelps was the fastest qualifier in the preliminary heats and was two tenths behind Lochte in the final.
Another Michael set to make splash at Mesa Grand Prix
British Paralympic champion Josef Craig was disqualified from a race because he didn’t cover up an Olympic rings tattoo on his chest at the IPC European Championships on Sunday.
Craig, 19, was disqualified because of an International Paralympic Committee swimming rule that states, “body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”
Craig, who did not have the tattoo when he took gold at London 2012, has since competed at the European Championships with the Olympic rings tattoo covered.
If people attend the Paralympics, which are held weeks after the Olympics at the same venues, they will very often see the Paralympic Agitos logo where the Olympic logo once appeared.
It is visual proof that the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee are separate entities.
At the London Paralympics, American Rudy Garcia-Tolson earned silver in a 200m individual medley with an Olympic rings tattoo visible near his left shoulder-blade.
An IPC spokesperson said the rule pertaining to the Paralympics — which covers all sports — was new going into 2012 and will be fully enforced for the first time in Rio.
MORE: London gymnastics medalist gets elaborate Olympic tattoo
Missy Franklin broke into tears reading a letter to her parents in a mock press conference in a spot for Minute Maid, one of the four-time Olympic champion’s sponsors since turning professional a year ago.
It was filmed in April near her home in Denver.
Franklin has split time training and competing and working with companies including GoPro, Laureus, Minute Maid, Speedo, United Airlines, Visa and Wheaties.
Franklin has said the sponsor commitments will curtail in the middle of May, when she starts a blackout period to focus on training for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which are June 26-July 3 in Omaha and air on NBC Sports.
VIDEO: Franklin revisits ‘biggest sacrifice’ in GoPro series finale