ANNAPOLIS, March 8 – Olympic swim star Michael Phelps broke his own American record in the 200-yard butterfly on Sunday, winning in 1min 39.65secs at the Maryland State Championships at the US Naval Academy.
Phelps set the old mark of 1:39.7 in 2006 at Austin, Texas. He looked back to see his split times from four years ago and entered the race with a goal of breaking his US mark.
"I wanted to try and go out and take a shot at it," he said. "Coming off the last turn I wanted to stay under as long as I could. That was clearly the difference."
The meet, which took place about 30 miles from the home of the 14-time Olympic champion, was the next step in Phelps’ training for the 2012 London Olympics after winning an unprecedented eight gold medals in 2008 at Beijing.
Phelps will next take the plunge competitively in a meet at Columbus, Ohio, next month. While he says the span from now until the London Olympics will vanish quickly, Phelps also sees plenty of work ahead of him before then.
"There are a lot of things yet to be done," Phelps said. "This shows that with more time and training I can get faster.
"I’m not in the best shape athletically right now and not in the best swimming shape, but being able to do what I did shows anything is possible when I’m prepared."