Gold Coast, Australia (4E Sports) – Michael Phelps, who has won 22 Olympic medals in his career, clinched the gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly event of the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships Saturday
The victory was Phelps’ first individual gold medal since returning to international competition and his first gold since his 2012 post-London Olympics retirement in the 4×200-meter relay team Friday.
Phelps submitted a time of 51.29 seconds, beating compatriot Ryan Lochte (51.67), and Japan’s Hirofumi Ikebata (52.50).
Phelps won gold in the same event at the 2012 Summer Games with a time of 51.21, just 0.08 faster than his most recent triumph.
“It definitely feels good to have that confidence back, to be able to do it in an individual event. I guess it’s kind of typical, I’m still in that little rut of doing the same time over and over again,” Phelps said.
“But it’s the same as I said earlier, what it does is really just guarantee me a spot on the World Championships team next summer, which is the biggest thing and the most important thing,” he added.
The event is part of Phelps’ preparation for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.