By Julian Linden
OMAHA, Nebraska, June 28 (Reuters) – After years of keeping everyone guessing, Michael Phelps has finally revealed his intentions for London, and no one should be surprised. The greatest Olympian of all time plans to swim the same eight events he contested at the last two Olympics.
In addition to his 14 golds, which is more than any other Olympian, Phelps also has two bronze medals. He needs just three more medals of any color in London to surpass the overall record of 18 held by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.
Latynina also holds the record for the most individual medals at the Olympics with 14, four more than Phelps. The American hopes to swim in five individual events in London.
At the halfway stage of the U.S. Olympic trials, Phelps has booked his place in three of his five individual events; the 400 meters medley, 200m freestyle and 200m butterfly.
He still has the 200m medley and 100m butterfly to go and will be automatic choice for the three relays.
Phelps had also entered the 100m freestyle but pulled out before Thursday’s heats, which was not surprising given that he had been battling stroke for stroke with Ryan Lochte for the first three days.
“I just wanted the morning off,” said Phelps. “I was getting tired and needed a break.”
Phelps was also signed up for the 200m backstroke, but his coach Bob Bowman said he was also scratching from that event.
“He will be swimming the 200m IM and the 100m fly, so normal program,” Bowman told reporters.
Without Lochte to contend with, Phelps had an easier time in the 200m butterfly, finishing well clear of second placed Tyler Clary.
With his huge arms and legs working perfectly in unison, Phelps was a model of efficiency and power as he surged to victory in one minute 53.65 seconds, more than two seconds outside his world record but still the fastest time in the world this year.
“Today was the best my stroke has felt throughout the whole meet,” Phelps said. “I’m pleased, but I think I need to go faster if I want to win that at the Olympics.”