Five star: Olympic great Michael Phelps qualifies for his fifth Olympics in Rio

American qualifies for a milestone fifth Olympics, booking his ticket to the Rio Games with a 200m butterfly victory at the US swimming trials

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 June, 2016, 9:56am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 June, 2016, 11:56am

Michael Phelps qualified for a milestone fifth Olympics Wednesday, booking his ticket to the Rio Games with a 200-metre butterfly victory at the US swimming trials.

Phelps, whose record 22 Olympic medals include an astonishing 18 gold, clocked one minute, 54.84 seconds to triumph over Tom Shields and become the first man to make a fifth US Olympic swimming team.

Shields finished in 1:55.81, pushing Phelps all the way.

“Getting on this team was what I wanted to do,” said Phelps, who celebrates his 31st birthday on Thursday.

The 200m fly was the event in which a teenaged Phelps set his first world record, and his world mark of 1:51.51 – set at the tail end of the bodysuit era in 2009 – still stands.

Regaining the Olympic title he surrendered to Chad le Clos in London in an event he long considered his baby figures to be a strong motivator for Phelps in Rio, although he acknowledged the competition would be fierce.

In addition to le Clos, he can expect a strong challenge from Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh and Japan’s Daiya Seto and Masato Sakai – the top three in the world rankings.

Phelps is also chasing Olympic berths in the 100m fly and 200m individual medley – both events he has won at three consecutive Games.