Ultra Swim Swimmer of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based swimmer who has proven themselves over the past month. As with any item of recognition, Swimmer of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one athlete whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a swimmer who was visibly outperforming other swimmers over the month, or one whose accomplishments slipped through the cracks among other high-profile swims. If your favorite athlete wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.
On this date in history, Michael Phelps set two IM world records – five years apart.
June 29 has been a banner date for Phelps – not that he’s really had any non-banner dates. The most decorated Olympian of all-time has set at least 39 world records (including lowering of his own records) and still owns the long course 400 IM along with pieces of all three men’s relay world records in long course.
On June 29, 2003, a 17-year-old Phelps first took over the 200 IM world record. Just a day before his 18th birthday, Phelps went 1:57.94 to become the first man ever under 1:58 in the event. The swim came at the Santa Clara Invite in California.
That was just the sixth world record-breaking swim for Phelps, at the early end of the most successful swimming career in the modern era. At the time, the teenager held world records in the 200 fly (set twice in 2001) and 400 IM (once in 2002, once in 2003), while also breaking a medley relay world record in 2002.
Phelps would re-lower the 200 IM world record seven more times over the next five years, winning every major gold medal in the event over that time frame. He remains the National Age Group record-holder with a 1:55.94 set two months after this June 29 swim.
Exactly five years later, Phelps would break the 400 IM record for the 7th time. Now a day before his 23rd birthday, Phelps blasted a 4:05.25 at U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008. That time remains the #3 swim of all-time. Phelps remains the world record-holder with his 4:03.84 from the 2008 Olympics. Since 2012, no one has come within a half-second of Phelps’ June 29, 2008 swim in the 400 IM.
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