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2020 Summer Olympics

‘Superman’ Clark Kent is the pride of the Philippines as he beats Michael Phelps’ meet record

Meet 10-year-old Clark Kent Apuada, who is gaining international attention for his exploits in the pool and sharing the same name as Superman’s alter ego

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2018, 5:39pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 August, 2018, 12:58pm

Look down in the pool, it’s bird, it’s a plane. No, it’s Superman! Clark Kent might not be from Smallville or Metropolis, but he is definitely going places and yes, that is his real name.

Watch out Michael Phelps (and Henry Cavill), Clark Kent Apuada is soaring faster than the man of steel after the 10-year-old broke the Baltimore Bullet’s 23-year-old meet record in the 100m butterfly at the Far West International Championship in California at the weekend. And he is the pride of the Philippines as a second generation Filipino-American.

According to reports, Apuada swims for Monterey Country Aquatic Team in California and has been swimming competitively for four years.

He is already making a splash, earning plaudits from the 23-time Olympic gold medallist himself. Having the same name as the DC Comics hero’s alter ego – mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent – also helps.

Phelps offered his congratulations to the boy on his Twitter account.

“Big congrats to #clarkkent for smashing that meet record!!! Keep it up dude!! #dreambig,” Phelps, a 23-time Olympic gold medallist,” wrote on Twitter.

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Apuada won the 10-and-under 100m fly in 1:09.38 – more than a second faster than the record established by Phelps at the same event in California in 1995.

Phelps’ meet record at the same age was 1:10.48. The US national record for the same event in 10-and-under remains at 1:05.98 set by Andrew Rogers in 2015.

Apuada is showing immense talent in the pool, winning gold medals in every event he swam in at the meet.

“This kid is unlike any other young man that I’ve ever coached,” coach Dia Riana told CNN of the youngster who also excels in computer and science classes at school, studies martial arts and takes piano lessons.

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“He’s always stood out,” Riana said. “He’s kind of a savant of sorts.”

The significance of his latest achievement wasn’t lost on Apuada.

“Being a Michael Phelps record breaker is amazing, because Michael Phelps is one of the largest swimming icons in the world,” he told Northern California CBS television affiliate KPIX 5, adding that his ultimate goal is to compete in the Olympics.

Apuada’s mother, Cynthia, said she named her son Clark Kent after her husband’s favourite comic book superhero. The fifth grader seems to be gaining super powers in the pool. Apparently, water is definitely not his kryptonite.

“We’re always just telling people his name is Clark. But when they realise his full name, people just call him Superman,” Cynthia Apuada told the Huffington Post.

Young Apuada dreams of competing at the Olympics and will be 16 when the Paris Games comes along in 2024. By that time, he just might be called Aquaman.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse