Michael Phelps – the most decorated Olympian of all time with 18 gold medals – set more records at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials by winning the 200m butterfly for a fourth straight time. He raced to one minute, 54.84 seconds - off his world record best from 2009 of 1:51.51 - but good enough to make a (record for men) fifth U.S. Olympic team.
Many things have changed for Phelps over the past 12 months: he got engaged to fiancée Nicole Johnson, the couple welcomed a son Boomer (already on Instagram with more than 10,000 followers) and he was rejuvenated for his final comeback in his swimming career after a stint in rehab. In August 2015, at the U.S. Nationals, he posted the top time in the world for that year in three events: the 200m individual medley and the 100m and 200m butterfly.
One thing hasn’t changed – the 200m butterfly has always been a constant. He raced the 200m butterfly at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, his only event there, and finished fifth in a time of 1:56.50. He won gold in the event at the 2004 Athens Olympics with 1:54.04. Despite his goggles filling up with water during the race, he defended his gold in 1:52.03 in 2008 (his fourth of a record haul of eight golds from those Beijing Games). In 2012, he faltered and earned a silver behind South Africa’s Chad le Clos by a margin of 0.05 seconds. He touched the wall in 1:53.01 in 2012.
Winning the 200m butterfly at Trials is a record in itself for Phelps – no other man has won the same event at Trials four consecutive times. Phelps’ victory adds to his 2004, 2008 and 2012 wins in the event. He could go for the same record later this week in the 200m individual medley.
Joining the squad in 2016 for a fifth consecutive Olympic appearance is a record, too. He competed in the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games and was joined in the four-timers club by Jason Lezak and Ryan Lochte, as of Tuesday night’s 200m freestyle final. Phelps is in a league of his own, again, with five Olympic appearances. He’s sworn up and down this one is the last one. Again.