On Day 2 at the 2010 ConocoPhillips National Championships, what we all knew became official: Michael Phelps is the greatest American swimmer ever. With his second win of the night, appropriately in his marquee of all marquee events the 200 fly, Phelps now has 49 individual National Titles, passing Tracy Caulkins for the most in United States history.
Caulkins swam in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and had her Olympic legacy somewhat limited by the boycott of the 1980 Games. Besides being the former holder of the most American National titles ever, Caulkins was famous for being the only swimmer to hold American records in all 5 disciplines (the 4 strokes and the IM) in her career.
Back to the man of the hour. Although he probably would have preferred to have had a better swim for the record breaker (his time of 1:56.00 wasn’t even the best of his season), the fact that he won when not nearly at his best made his achievement even stronger.
Phelps has won National Titles in 9 out of the 13 events in the men’s Olympic program. The lone events that he has not won (in fairness, he hasn’t even tried them), are the 50 and 1500m freestyles, and the two breaststroke events.
Here’s a breakdown of his National Titles (through Day 2 of the 2010 National Championships, although surely more are to come before the week ends).
- 11 – 200m freestyle
- 10 – 100m fly
- 7 – 200m IM
- 7 – 200m fly
- 4 – 100m freestyle
- 4 – 200m backstroke
- 3 – 400m IM
- 2 – 400m freestyle
- 1 – 100m backstroke