Michael Phelps is heading to Rio — and into the history books — after he became the first American male swimmer to qualify for five Olympic Games.
Phelps, already a 22-time Olympic medalist, finished first in the men’s 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday. Coming in second, Tom Shields also qualified to represent USA in the 2016 Summer Games.
“With everything that’s happened, being able to come back, that’s probably harder than any swim I’ve had in my life,” Phelps, 31, said after the race, according to USAToday.
The Baltimore Bullet won six gold medals in Athens in 2004, eight in Beijing in 2008 and another four in London in 2012. But there has also been much turmoil in his life, including DUI arrests and suspensions by USA Swimming.
Now engaged to longtime girlfriend Nicole Johnson, and father to two-month-old son Boomer, he appears to be ready to represent his country again.
Phelps is expected to swim multiple events in Rio, depending on what he qualifies for this week. He will also swim the 100 fly and 200 individual medley. He scratched out of both the 100 and 200 freestyle events, though he could still be named to the relay teams based on previous results.
“Just being able to finish how I want to is so important to me,” he said. “Getting on this team is what I wanted to do.”
The Rio Olympics begin Aug. 5 and will air on NBC and its sister networks. The event will also be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.
The Rio Paralympics begin on Sept. 7 and will be streamed live on TeamUSA.org.
See an Instagram of Phelps’ biggest fans below.
— ESPN (@espn) June 30, 2016