updated 04/25/2014 AT 8:35 AM ET
•originally published 04/25/2014 AT 8:50 AM ET
A relaxed Michael Phelps was smiling Thursday after swimming his first race since the 2012 London Olympics – even though he lost in the finals of the 100-meter butterfly to longtime rival and friend Ryan Lochte.
Lochte touched first in 51.93 seconds, second-fastest in the world this year. Phelps was second in 52.13, fourth-quickest in the world. He lowered his time of 52.84 from the morning heats.
Lochte beat him to the first turn. “That may have been the worst turn that I have ever done in my entire life,” Phelps said later.
It didn’t matter to the sellout crowd of 1,200 at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Ariz., who loudly cheered Phelps. “Everyone is happy that he’s back in the water,” Lochte said. “It’s good for the sport.”
Lochte said he and Phelps hadn’t seen each other since London, but they picked up where they left off, joking with each other before trying to beat each other.
“I’m going to do everything I can to try to get my hand on the wall before him in every single race; I don’t care what it is, and it’s the same for him,” Phelps said. “We bring the best out of one another.”