Source: Xinhua

08-12-2008 19:23

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Michael Phelps of the United States celebrates after winning the men's 200m freestyle final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, Aug. 12, 2008. Phelps set a new world record and won the gold medal in the event with 1 minute 42.96 seconds.(Xinhua/Wang Dingchang)
Michael Phelps of the United States 
celebrates after winning the men's 200m
freestyle final at the Beijing 2008 
Olympic Games in the National Aquatics
Center, also known as the Water Cube 
in Beijing, China, Aug. 12, 2008. Phelps
set a new world record and won the gold
medal in the event with 1 minute 42.96
seconds.(Xinhua/Wang Dingchang)

 BEIJING, Aug. 12  -- American super fish Michael Phelps smashed his own world record of the men's 200-meter freestyle here on Tuesday to increase his gold medal count to three at the Beijing Olympics.

    Starting off unusually from Lane 6 as the fourth fastest qualifier for the final, the 23-year-old prodigy met no challenge at all to lead the pool of eight in his own pace.

    After the first 50 meters, neither South Korean sensation Park Taewan nor American sprinter Peter Vanderkaay could reach Phelps' feet as he touched the wall first in one minute 42.96 seconds, shaving 0.9 second off the previous world record.

    "I wanted to try and get out into open water and I was in the outside lane so it was kind of difficult for the others to see me," said Phelps. "I just wanted to get out there and try to hold on. I knew Park was going to have a good last 50 meters, so I tried to start as far ahead as I could in the first 100 to 150 meters."

    Park, who turns 19 next month, finished second with a brand new Asian record of 1:44.85, followed by Peter Vanderkaay in 1:45.14.

    Phelps conserved his energy for the 4x100 meters freestyle relay final on Monday morning by rendering Lane 4 position to his teammate Vanderkaay, who qualified for the final with the fastest semifinal result of 1:45.45.

    "It was an awesome effort with my swim, it means a lot to win my first individual medal and on a stage like this it is awesome," said the 24-year-old Vanderkaay. "I was pretty sure I was in medal contention. I couldn't see too far on my right. I did my best and I won a medal."

    Phelps and teammates were on an extremely high after a remarkable win in the 4x100 meters freestyle relay Monday morning where they sensationally pushed themselves forward with veteran Jason Lezak's final stroke while five out of the eight teams surpassed the old world record mark.

    But the prolific Phelps kept a cool head to swim his own race on Tuesday while Park, the world and newly crowned Olympic champion in the 400-meter freestyle failed to match.

    "It was a glory to swim side by side and compete with Phelps, he was such a great swimmer," said Park, who became the first ever South Korean swimmer to win an Olympic gold on Sunday. "My time is also a new Asian record, I'm more than satisfied."

    Phelps won the bronze medal in the 200-meter freestyle at the Athens Olympic Games, but declared his domain at last year's World Championships by breaking the six-year-old world record set by Australian legend Ian Thorpe.

    The unstoppable wunderkind defended his title of the men's 400-meter individual medley also with a world record performance on Sunday.

    Phelps now became one of the five most prolific Olympic gold medal winners with three golds grabbed in Beijing. But his quest of eight golds in Beijing has not finished yet.

    Phelps' next step towards his ultimate goal will be winning the men's 200-meter butterfly race on Wednesday with doubt, as the world and Olympic defending champion in the event cruised into the final with an Olympic record time of 1:53.70 in the semifinals on Tuesday.

    "I didn't have much of a warm down after the 200 free final. I just wanted to get through the 200 fly (semifinals). I wanted to try not to go all out and conserve as much as I could. I felt fine. I barely had any time to relax in between races." 


Editor:Chen Ge