Sports Outside the Beltway

Michael Phelps Ties Mark Spitz’ 7 Gold Medals

Frankly, I don’t care much about swimming, especially in non-Olympic years. Still, what Michael Phelps has accomplished at the World Championships this year is truly amazing.

Michael Phelps Photo USA's Michael Phelps waves to the cheering crowds after setting a new world record in the men's 400m Individual Medley final at the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, April 1, 2007. His record breaking time was 4 minutes and 06.22 seconds. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) Michael Phelps equaled the most hallowed mark in swimming, winning his seventh gold medal at the world championships Sunday night with his fifth world record.

Phelps smashed his own standard in the 400-meter individual medley by 2.04 seconds, becoming the most successful swimmer ever at the worlds. “This is probably one of the best meets I’ve ever had,” he said. “I’m definitely happy with how it turned out.”

The 21-year-old American joined countryman Mark Spitz as the only swimmers to win that many golds at a major international meet. Of course, Spitz’ achievement came on the sport’s grandest stage — the Olympics.

Phelps hopes to equal the feat or go one better at next year’s Beijing Games. “This is definitely the best-case scenario for what we had in mind leading into the (U.S.) trials and Olympics next year,” he said.

Buoyed by Phelps’ historic performance, the United States won a leading 36 medals, including 20 golds — equaling its record haul at the 1978 worlds in Berlin.

“Probably one of the best meets I’ve ever had?” Dude, you set five world records. That means nobody–not even you–ever swam that fast in an official meet before!

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