Olympics, Swimming: Flash Michael Phelps Sets World Record in 200 Free Win

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 12. SUPERMAN did it again.

Winning his third gold medal of the Games, and in his third world-record time, Michael Phelps blasted the competition in the 200 freestyle. Taking charge from the start, Phelps built a sizable lead on the first lap and continued to open up on his way to a clocking of 1:42.96, well under his previous world mark of 1:43.86. What must Ian Thorpe be thinking?

Phelps, who added to gold medals in the 400 individual medley and 400 freestyle relay, split 24.31 at the 50, was timed in 50.29 at the 100 and turned for home in 1:16.84. The gold was the ninth of Phelps' career, tying him for the most in Olympic history. It was also his 11th overall medal and second straight in the 200 free, complementing his bronze from Athens.

The champion in the 400 freestyle, Korea's Tae Hwan Park grabbed the silver medal by breaking the 1:45 barrier in 1:44.85, good for an Asian record. Park used a final-lap split of 26.17 to edge Peter Vanderkaay, who took the bronze medal in 1:45.14. That effort bettered Vanderkaay's previous best of 1:45.45.

South African Jean Basson finished fourth with a mark of 1:45.97 and was followed in the fifth spot by Germany's Paul Biedermann in 1:46.00. Switzerland's Dominik Meichtry followed in 1:46.95 and the field was rounded out by Japan's Yoshihiro Okumura (1:47.14) and Great Britain's Robbie Renwick (1:47.47).