Michael Phelps advances in 100 free

GOLD COAST, Australia -- It was raining for Michael Phelps' return to international competition. And it was anything but boring.

The 18-time Olympic gold medalist advanced to the 100-meter freestyle final at the Pan Pacific championships on Friday, with his time of 48.45 seconds ranking him third overall in the preliminaries and second quickest among the 12 Americans. His U.S. teammate Nathan Adrian set a meet record 48.05 to lead qualifying, edging Australia's two-time world champion James Magnussen in the same heat -- the pair finished first and second at the London Olympics.

For Phelps, it was a step toward the 2015 world championships only four months back into competitive swimming after a short-lived retirement following the 2012 Olympics.