MINNEAPOLIS — In his first meet since the Phillips 66 National Championships in August, Michael Phelps finished third in the 100-meter butterfly final in the Arena Pro Swim Series on Thursday night, the first stop on a seven-city circuit that's part of the buildup to for the 2016 Olympics.
Giles Smith, who attended McDonogh, won the race in 52.57 seconds, ahead of Santo Condorelli (52.58) and Phelps (52.99), a three-time Olympic champion in the event. Ryan Lochte was disqualified for a false start.
"It's very early season and all, but just to get a win, it's a pretty cool feeling," said Smith, from Baltimore like Phelps.
Lochte just shrugged and smiled.
"I haven't been disqualified since like '99, I think," he said. "The official came over and was like, 'Ryan, you're disqualified,' and I was like, 'All right.' He could've told me that before the race so I wouldn't have had to go through that pain."
The race was helpful for Phelps, who raced for the first time since his splash at the national championships yielded world-best times for 2015 in the 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley.
The 18-time Olympic gold medalist spoke at length about the technical analysis of his stroke, a necessity, he said, at age 30.
"I'm not the same person who wouldn't die at the end of a race. I'm old now and I get tired a lot faster. So just being able to spend time working on those specifics is a big key," Phelps said.
The takeaway? "Not to eat banana bread before a race. I had a couple pieces come up the last 50," he said, smiling.
Phelps raced in the 200 freestyle, too, placing 10th with a time of 1:50.39. His coach, Bob Bowman, razzed him about his thick, black beard.
"Bob told me, 'If you shaved, you'd probably go 1:48,'" Phelps said. "Ah, I thought about shaving, but I don't really want to."
Elsewhere, Fallston alumnus Chase Kalisz (4:18.50) took the 400 individual medley.
On the women's side, Katie Ledecky of Bethesda beat Missy Franklin in the 200 free. Ledecky, who won five gold medals at the world championships in August, finished in 1:55.37. Franklin was 0.64 of a second behind her friendly rival.
Allison Schmitt, a six-time Olympic medalist, was third at 1:57.28.
"You race someone like Katie Ledecky, and it's really important for you to also use her to make yourself better but also make sure you're swimming your own race," Franklin said. "And I think I did that pretty well."
Ledecky, the distance specialist who became an Olympic gold medalist at age 15 in 2012, has dipped into the sprints with the 200 freestyle that is set up to be stacked next summer in Rio.
"It's going to be amazing. I think it's really going to showcase our potential," said Franklin, who won four golds in London.