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Swimming: Michael Phelps back in winners circle in international comeback

Published on Aug 22, 2014 10:00 PM
Yuki Kobori (left) of Japan and Michael Phelps (centre) of the US react after the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Gold Coast on Aug 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

(REUTERS) - It was just like old times for Michael Phelps on Friday. The world's most decorated swimmer was on the top of the podium at the Pan Pacific championships, collecting another gold medal after a thrilling race win.

He had just helped the Americans win the 4x200m freestyle relay after a titanic struggle against Japan at Australia's Gold Coast on a rainy winter's night.

For a man who has won a mind-boggling 18 Olympic gold medals, it might normally have seemed like just another day at the office, but not this time.

The importance was not lost on Phelps, who was swimming at his first international meet in two years in an event the Americans have not lost for over a decade. "I think being able to hold that tradition for this long and being able to get back on the podium, it feels amazing," Phelps told reporters. "We all know that by no means is this going to get any easier over the next two years, and I think having a close one like this should propel us into the Worlds next summer, and hopefully on to Rio from there."

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