Michael Phelps returned to the top of the podium Friday night, winning the 100-meter butterfly at the Arena Grand Prix in Charlotte for his fist victory since the London Olympics in 2012.
Phelps touched the wall in 52.13 seconds–the same time he recorded in this event last month in Mesa, Arizona in his return to competitive swimming.
Phelps was supposed to swim in the 200-freestyle at the event as well, but scratched that from his program earlier on Friday.
There is plenty of speculation surrounding Phelps and what his intentions may be to return to the Olympics in 2016 in Rio. Phelps famously declared himself “retired” from swimming after leaving London in 2012 as the most decorated medalist in Olympics history, earning 22 medals in his four appearances (Sydney, 2000; Athens, 2004; Beijing, 2008; and London).
Perhaps Phelps hinted at a possible return with some of his swim attire on Friday. During warm-ups before his preliminary qualifying time in the 100-fly, Phelps wore an orange swim cap with “Rio 2016″ printed on one side.
Both Phelps and his Coach, Bob Bowman, have been non-committal on any plans for future competition since the meet in Mesa. But Phelps has re-entered his name into the international drug-testing pool, which would seem to indicate that competing in Rio and next year’s World Championships may be in his future.