Michael Phelps qualified fastest into the 100m butterfly final in his first race since August at the Pro Swim Series at Mesa, Ariz., on Thursday.
Phelps, a three-time Olympic 100m fly champion, clocked 52.92 seconds to win a preliminary heat Thursday afternoon (full results here). He leads an eight-man final that includes Ryan Lochte, who won his earlier preliminary heat in 53.17 with the No. 3 time overall.
The finals session is at 9 p.m. ET on Universal Sports.
Phelps is swimming in Mesa following a six-month suspension after a September DUI arrest. Last year, he swam at the Mesa meet in his first competition since the London Olympics.
In last year’s 100m fly prelims, Phelps clocked 52.84 to lead qualifiers into the final. He was beaten by Lochte in the final later that night, clocking 52.13.
Phelps has said he’s recently trained harder than at any point since 2008, when he won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.
In other events Thursday, Katie Ledecky qualified fastest into the 200m freestyle final, ahead of FINA World Swimmer of the Year Katinka Hosszu, who is better in individual medleys.
Olympic 200m free champion Allison Schmitt, who did not make the 2015 World Championships team, also reached the 200m free final.
Lochte was the second-fastest qualifier into the men’s 200m free final behind Conor Dwyer. Phelps did not swim the 200m free.
Ledecky was also second to Hosszu in 400m individual medley qualifying. Ledecky, who has never competed in the 400m IM at a major international meet, cut one second off her personal best and was faster than Americans Elizabeth Beisel and Caitlin Leverenz, who were second and tied for sixth, respectively, in the 2012 Olympic 400m IM.
The meet runs through Saturday.