Phelps gets relay gold on international comeback

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Phelps gets relay gold on international comeback
Michael Phelps showed up to a Baltimore court Friday morning where he pled guilty to driving under the influence. Phelps was given a one-year suspended sentence and 18 months probation, meaning if he screws up in the next 18 months, he goes behind bars for a year. The Olympic hero arrived with his mom, sister and girlfriend, Miss California 2010 Nicole Johnson.
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps walks into a courthouse for a trial on drunken driving and other charges, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, in Baltimore. Documents show that the 29-year-old was leaving Baltimore's Horseshoe Casino Sept. 30 when he was pulled over for speeding and crossing the double yellow line on a highway. Police say Phelps registered a .14 per cent on a blood-alcohol test. The legal limit to drive is .08 per cent in Maryland. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps walks into a courthouse for a trial on drunken driving and other charges, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, in Baltimore. Documents show that the 29-year-old was leaving Baltimore's Horseshoe Casino Sept. 30 when he was pulled over for speeding and crossing the double yellow line on a highway. Police say Phelps registered a .14 per cent on a blood-alcohol test. The legal limit to drive is .08 per cent in Maryland. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
United States swimmer Michael Phelps dives off of the starting block during the men's 400-meter individual medley event during the 2012 Summer Olympics at the Aquatics Centre in London on Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Al Bello, Pool)
FILE - This Oct. 23, 2011 file photo shows U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps competing in the men's 100m butterfly heat at the FINA short course swimming World Cup in Berlin, Germany. After winning a record eight gold medals in Beijing, the 26-year-old American is back for his final big splash before retirement. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)
US swimmer Michael Phelps prepares for a Men's 100 Meter Individual Medley heat at the Fina short course swimming World Cup in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps pauses after swimming 50 meters during an event of Special Olympics in Shanghai, China, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. Phelps was appointed as a Special Olympics Global Ambassador. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Michael Phelps of the U.S. spits water out after his men's 100m butterfly final at the Pan Pacific swimming championships in Gold Coast, Australia, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
IRVINE, CA - AUGUST 06: Michael Phelps reacts after his seventh place finish in the Men's 100 Meter Freestyle Final during the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships at the Woollett Aquatic Center on August 6, 2014 in Irvine, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
The past few days have been extremely difficult.
I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself.
I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself.
Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual,
and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.
Former Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps looks on during a Baltimore Orioles baseball spring training workout Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Sarasota, Fla. Phelps, a native of Baltimore who was in the area filming his Golf Channel show The Haney Project, took batting practice with the team. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Former U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps stands in the pool as he watches kids train at the Rocinha slum sports complexin Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, March 11, 2013. Phelps is in Rio to attend The Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps poses for photos on the red carpet upon his arrival to the Laureus World Sports Awards in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, March 11, 2013. Phelps is one of the nominees for Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps holds up his Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement trophy as he poses for pictures during the Laureus World Sports Awards in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, March 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR SUBWAY RESTAURANTS - Former U.S. Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps, right, and Brazilian soccer legend Pele, left, eat sandwiches at a SUBWAY restaurant, during a event organized by SUBWAY, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Nelson Antoine/Invision for SUBWAY Restaurants/AP Images)
Former U.S. Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps, right, and Brazilian soccer legend Pele answer questions in a press conference at a SUBWAY restaurant, during a event organized by SUBWAY, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Nelson Antoine/Invision for SUBWAY Restaurants/AP Images)
Former Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps waits to hit in the batting cage during a Baltimore Orioles baseball spring training workout Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Sarasota, Fla. Phelps, a native of Baltimore who was in the area filming his Golf Channel show The Haney Project, took batting practice with the team. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Former Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps hits in the batting cage during a Baltimore Orioles baseball spring training workout Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Sarasota, Fla. Phelps, a native of Baltimore who was in the area filming his Golf Channel show The Haney Project, took batting practice with the team. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, left, and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps react as members of the Ravens take the field before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Baltimore, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, left, and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps hug before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Baltimore, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The Ravens won 44-13. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Chad Le Ros, Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin poses at OMEGA House presents Olympic Swimmers Attend at OMEGA House on Tuesday August 07, 2012 in London. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin poses at OMEGA House presents Olympic Swimmers Attend at OMEGA House on Tuesday August 07, 2012 in London. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
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By JOHN PYE

GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) -- Michael Phelps is back on top of the podium.

The 29-year-old American, swimming in his first international meet since coming out of retirement, helped the United States win the 4x200-meter relay Friday at the Pan Pacific championships.

"Being able to get back on the podium - it feels amazing," Phelps said. "It's a good first day. Good first international meet back. There's no better way to finish this, lovely, rainy night then being able to step up with your teammates and win a gold medal."

Phelps finished fourth in his first final - the 100 free - but he later swam the second leg of the relay and watched as Matt McLean overhauled Takeshi Matsuda of Japan on the last lap.

In the 100, 20-year-old Cameron McEvoy of Australia won in 47.82 seconds in pouring rain at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre's outdoor pool. Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian of the United States was second in 48.30 and James Magnussen, the two-time world champion from Australia, was third.

"What more could I ask for?" McEvoy said. "I just felt great the whole way. It was an honor to be in a race with such great men - so much those guys have accomplished. It was great to be in their company in that race - the whole night was awesome."

Phelps, who retired after the London Olympics but returned to competition four months ago, was just off the podium in 48.51.

"I don't think it was terrible," the 18-time Olympic gold medalist said of the 100.

Phelps also took a more long-term view, saying he was "learning all the time" and knew what he needed to improve before the world championships next year and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Before taking the Americans right to the wire in the relay, Japan picked up two gold medals in the men's competition with Kosuke Hagino winning the 400 medley and Yasuhiro Koseki winning the 100 breaststroke in 59.62.

Australian sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell finished 1-2 in the women's 100 free, with Simone Manuel earning her first international individual medal when she held off American teammate Missy Franklin for bronze. Cate Campbell swam the fastest time of the year to qualify first for the final in 52.62 seconds, and went a shade slower to win the gold at 52.72.

After the 100 free, the Americans picked up the other three women's gold medals on the second night of competition, with Jess Hardy winning the 100 breaststroke, Elizabeth Beisel holding off teammate Maya Dirado in the 400 medley and Katie Ledecky anchoring the 4x200 relay team to a comeback win over Australia.

It was the third gold medal of the meet for the 17-year-old Ledecky. And it was the first for Franklin, who won six titles at last year's world championships but has been hampered by a back injury at the Pan Pacs.

Franklin said the Americans "take a lot of ownership" of the relays, and were excited to overhaul the Australians in their own pool.

"They're definitely not something we like to lose," Franklin said. "Katie really wanted her rain relay, so we got that. It's fun, you know, not always having the same thing. We've shaken it up a little bit."

Ledecky won the 200 and the 800 freestyle double on the opening day, and still has the 400 and the 1,500 to go. She holds the world records for the 400, 800 and the 1,500 but hadn't experienced anything quite like the relay on a cold, wet, winter night in Australia.

"This is the best feeling, ever. It's great to be there with these girls," Ledecky said. "This atmosphere ... it's kind of like a classic environment like `Friday Night Lights' - rain, and a relay - so it it was pretty fun."

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