By John Lohn
MELBOURNE, Australia, March 28. FOR all the success he has enjoyed over the years, highlighted by his eight-medal haul at the Athens Olympics, Michael Phelps might end up producing the greatest competition of his illustrious career. One night after taking down the 200 freestyle world record, Phelps destroyed his own global standard in the 200 butterfly at Rod Laver Arena.
Under world-record pace by sizable margins at every wall, Phelps churned out a clocking of 1:52.09, obliterating his 1:53.71 standard from February at the Missouri Grand Prix. Yes, Phelps nearly hacked two seconds off his world mark. Phelps has now set six world records in the 200 fly, the event that placed him on the international map at the 2000 Olympic Trials.
Like he did in the 200 free, Phelps got off to a sizzling start, splitting 25.26 at the 50-meter mark. He followed at the next two checkpoints at 53.62 and 1:22.87. At the 150, there wasn't a question as to whether Phelps would lower his record. It was just a matter of how low he would take it. The victory handed Phelps his third gold of the meet.
"I had a real good swim earlier in the season. This was a goal," Phelps said. "I wanted to take it out and see what happened. I'm definitely happy and satisfied."
The silver medal went China's Wu Peng in 1:55.13 and the bronze medal was collected by Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov in 1:55.22. Finishing in sixth place was the defending world champion, Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski.