Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Phelps picked up his first victory since coming out of retirement by capturing the 100-meter butterfly Friday night at the Arena Grand Prix at Charlotte.
The 18-time Olympic champion turned in a time of 52.13 seconds to edge two- time Olympian Pavel Sankovich of Belarus by .59 seconds at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.
Phelps retired after winning six medals at the 2012 London Olympics, but the layoff lasted just 20 months.
Three of his record 18 Olympic gold medals came in the 100 fly and he is the world and American record holder in the event. He has a record 22 Olympic medals overall.
Absent from competition on Friday was Ryan Lochte, who beat Phelps last month in Mesa, Arizona, and is nursing a knee injury.