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Michael Phelps sets world record in Olympic swimming

Michael Phelps wins first gold in Beijing, sets world record in swimming

BEIJING -- That could become a headline you see a few times within the next several days.

As dominant as Michael Phelps of Baltimore was four years ago in Athens, where he won  six gold medals, it appears he is even stronger and certainly more mature than he was in 2004. In his first final Sunday morning, he broke his own world record in the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4:03.84.

Actually, to say that he merely broke it is not giving him his full due. He shattered it, swimming 1.41 seconds faster than the previous record.

Imagine what he might have done if he had felt more like himself.

"I wanted to go 4:03,'' he said from the pool deck right afterward. "I didn't know if I would. I really didn't feel that great. Going into the ready room, I started getting these chills up my body. Right then and there, I was starting to get excited. I was pretty emotional after that race.''

This is historically Phelps' best event. But he also was up against one of his most potent challengers, fellow American Ryan Lochte. But Lochte, who is from Daytona Beach, could swim no faster than 4:08.09, a badly beaten third. Hungary's Laszlo Cseh was second in 4:06.16.

Phelps could swim in at least seven more finals as he attempts to break Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics.

-- Randy Harvey

Photo of world record holder Michael Phelps by Thomas Kienzle / AP

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Comments (9)

What the heck happened to the U.S. national anthem during Michael Phelps’ first gold medal ceremony?? First, it sounded like an abridged, interpretation of the anthem and then it was cut off at the end! Come on, China! If you can present an amazing, over the top opening ceremonies with incredible technical precision, you can certainly give the respect due to competing athletes and play a country’s national anthem in full and unabridged!

That was a great swim. I watched it on TV was able to see the pace of his previous world record (he beat it by a body length).

also i liked that the national anthem cut out at "... land of the fr"(ee and the home of the brave would have been a nice addition unless china has a problem with that for some reason)

I thought Laszlo Cseh was from Hungary, not the Czech Republic.

Phelps is simply amazing. Hope he continues to awe audiences around the world as he claims more and more gold for the US!

Swimmers with Phelps talent come along rarely. It would be great to see him beat or even tie the record set by Mark Spitz in 1972. In winning the 4 individual and 3 relay golds, Spitz (and the relay teams) also broke 7 world records! Seven finals and several world records! Wow! Phelps may even be on his way to do that!

It's been thirty-six years! I think the only swimmer at the 2008 Games that was born then was Dara Torres. ;) Gotta love her too!

How much $$$ was spent on the opening ceremonies?? Hey china give me 1/1000000 of what you spent and I'll be your sound guy the next time the world screws up and lets you host another international competition. idiots

Like the first poster, I am extremely offended by the chinese botching of the American Anthem. In my opinion china should aplolgize, IMMEDIATELY, for this insult! We in the West may be less sensitive to protocol and social status than are the chinese; however, we'd be idiots to ignore and to fail to request an apology for this insult.

Does anyone know what type of hat michael phelps has been wearing? It is navy blue in the front and the back is white mesh witha design on the rim. feel free to email me

michael phelps is amazing!!!
keep on swimming michael! woooo


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