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Phelps still draws crowd in return

Updated: May 15, 2009, 11:11 PM ET
By Anna K. Clemmons | Special to ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Like Tiger Woods' return to the golf course after his nine-month hiatus, Michael Phelps' dive back into the pool Friday nine months after the 2008 Beijing Olympics was a highly watched affair. For a meet that typically would be seen as a competitive practice, the Phelpsian presence brought media from around the world -- and sold more tickets than ever before in the history of the Charlotte UltraSwim.

In his first morning race, Phelps lined up for the 200-meter freestyle ...

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