By Phil Whitten
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 16. MICHAEL PHELPS flew to his third American record of the USA Swimming National Championships tonight, clocking a smoking 51.88 for the 100m butterfly.
His time broke the American record of 52.25 by Ian Crocker in his silver medal swim at last year's World Championships.
Phelps' time just missed Australia's Michael Klim's global standard of 51.81. It equals the second fastest swim all time, first swum by Germany's Thomas Rupprath at the German Natioanls this Spring.
Tonight, Crocker took the lead at the start, splitting 24.05, which equals Byron Davis' 1996 time for the fastest first 50m ever swum. But Phelps hauled in a tiring Crocker and caught him with 20 meters to go. Crocker was second in 52.30.