Michael Phelps qualifies for record fifth Olympic Games
He’s already the most decorated Olympian of all-time but Michael Phelps will be in the hunt for more medals come August after booking his place at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games Wednesday.
Phelps, who has 22 Olympic medals to his name, clocked a time of one minute 54.84 seconds to take first place in the final of the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. swimming trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
In doing so, Phelps became the first man to make a fifth U.S. Olympic swimming team.
Although he announced his retirement after the 2012 Games in London, the 18-times gold medal winner announced he would be returning to the pool in 2014.
But another Olympic appearance seemed a long way off after he was arrested on a DUI charge and suspended by U.S. Swimming shortly after.
“With everything that’s happened, being able to come back — this was probably harder than any swim I’ve had in my life,” Phelps said in comments carried by the AFP news agency.
“I didn’t feel good the first two (qualifying) swims. But getting on the team was the most important thing, and that’s the only thing I had to do tonight,” he added.
The “Baltimore Bullet” edged out Tom Shields on his way to victory Wednesday and can be sure of stiff competition in Rio from the likes of South Africa’s Chad le Clos and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh.
Yet Phelps can take solace from the fact that he still holds the record for the 200m butterfly event which he set in 2009 in Rome, Italy.
Phelps, who turns 31 on Thursday, is also hoping to qualify for the 100m fly and 200m individual medley in Rio at the U.S. trials.
Read: Phelps becomes proud father to baby boy