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Victory in the 200 Fly

My hands hurt from clapping and my voice is hoarse from screaming, but it was a great night at the pool for Michael!

After a day of sightseeing in the Chinese Markets, we headed to the pool for the finals of the 200 fly and the semi-finals of the 200 IM.  Prior to this year, Michael hadn’t lost the 200 fly in competition in 9 years and it was tough when he was beat in Michigan for the first time, by Wu Peng, a Chinese swimmer who is competing here at the World Championships, earlier this year. Tonight was his night to reclaim the title of World’s Best in the 200 meter Butterfly.

We were anxious before the race, seat dancing to Lady Gaga and Pink, to expel some of the nervous energy. But when Michael started his race, with a fast reaction time, we knew he would have a great race, as he looked good from the beginning.

We swim each stroke with him, rocking back and forth, even simulating the turns with leaning forward as he stretches into the wall and then backwards as he pushes off.  He cranked home on the last 50 and by the time he got to the half way point, we knew he had the race.  It was great to see the happy, relaxed look on his face as he climbed under the lane lines to exit the pool. He looked up into the stands, where we gave his two thumbs up.

No matter the number of gold medals or how many times one hears the National Anthem of the United States of America, it never gets old.  Seeing Michael on his stage, the podium, never gets old. He has accomplished such legendary achievements in the sport of swimming, that seeing his continued success is as equally inspiring as when he broke his first World Record or won his first gold medal on the international swimming scene.

MP fans came down to our seats to wish us congratulations and showed us signs and shirts that they had made with photos and sayings.  Lots wanted autographs and more wanted photos, but all of the fans were gracious and warm.  We enjoy meeting all of the fans, who have been so supportive of Michael’s swimming, books, swim school and Foundation. So, to the fans, the Phelps’ family thanks you!

It’s late here – almost midnight – and the days seem to be getting longer, while the time gets shorter.  The days in Shanghai are flying by and tonight when Michael was standing on the podium, I remembered the first time I saw him on the medal stands on the World’s stage, in 2003 in Barcelona.  I still see the little boy (even though he’s 8 years older and way taller than he was then!) I saw many years ago.

Michael’s win tonight made him the first person in history to win five World Championships in a single event for long course meters.  Congratulations Michael on a phenomenal swim… we’re looking forward to the rest of the excitement as the last few events of the 14th FINA World Championships unfold.

A T-shirt made by a fan


The fan who made the shirt


MP Fans



About 70percentwater

14-time Olympic Gold medalist

23 responses »

  1. Thank YOU, for providing us with a pool-side “view” of this momentus day for Michael! So many hundreds of thousands of former, current, and future swimmers thank him for putting swimming back in the public eye. I was fortunate enough to get to see him at the Ultra Swim in Charlotte this past May and, while he didn’t swim his best, we got the same feeling you did — that this MEANS something to him, every time he touches the water. To a former competitive swimmer like me, I know the feeling but nowhere near to the extent that your remarkable brother has experienced it. I woke up this morning, anxious to hear the news of the final in the fly and it made my day!! Please tell your brother that so many thousands and thousands of people are very proud of him and I know what it must feel like to you and his mother to see him realize his dreams!!

  2. First, congrats on the win! Second I want to say that it is wonderful to see a family that loves each other as much as you all! It is wonderful that you can still see Michael scanning the crowds to find his family. It shows that he still, after all the victories and endorsement deals which bring with them money and for many ego, has a sense of self and has remained grounded. It is refreshing to see and it speaks volumes for the type of people your family is!

    If only there were more of you in this world!!

  3. Thanks for your great posts! I’m a mom of 3 swimmers, and I can totally relate to sitting in the stands, being way more nervous than my swimmers, and feeling as though I’m taking every stroke and turn with them. It’s good to know that even Michael Phelp’s family still feels that way when their swimmer swims.
    Also BTW my oldest son/swimmer has been following World Champs very closely all week, and last night he knocks on my bedroom door with lap top in hand declaring “Mom, THIS IS AWESOME”…I figured Michael or one of his other favorite swimmers had won another event…but no it was an article about Michael Phelps having to borrow a warm-up suit from an Austrailian friend because he forgot his. I have a feeling my son will be happy to remind his father & I of this the next time we have to stop by the meet vendor because of forgotten goggles/suit/etc…I guess you’re never too old for a little oopsie 🙂

  4. Amanda Lemoine

    Hi Hilary,

    My name is Amanda Lemoine, and I am a big follower of swimming and am a fan of our great USA Swimming Team. I saw this on the fan page for you brother. I wish him the best of luck at the World Championships!! Yay for the 200 fly victory! I’m writing you because I am trying to get the word out for any possible help to save our local Natatorium from being shut down. I apologize for contacting you on here, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and I would truly appreciate your time to read this. I’ve contacted The Michael Phelps Foundation as well.

    The Lake Oxford Natatorium is located in my hometown of Monroe, Louisiana. This Natatorium, nicknamed “The Nat”, is part of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. This is the only official Olympic sized pool in Northeast Louisiana; the closest pool is a minimum of about 40 miles away, but is not regulation sized for long and short course swimming.
    The Nat has had a string of bad luck for the past few years, the biggest being that our beloved coach, John C. Pittington passed away in March of 2004. Shortly after his death, the University’s swim team was disassembled, and only the local Monroe city swim team, LA Gold, remained to utilize the pool for competitive swimming. The Nat hosted one of the biggest swim meets in the tri-state area every January, the Slick Morton Invitational, renamed to the Winter Invitational. Now the team has about 50 children actively swimming and this meet is no longer being held here. What would bring in so much revenue for the team and for the city of Monroe has gone to waste. Due to the under utilization of the pool by the students of ULM and community, the president of ULM, Dr. Nick Bruno, has had to make hard decisions concerning this. Unfortunately, the Nat is being closed August 13, 2011 until further notice. It’s a personal interest of mine seeing the current head coach of LA Gold is one of my teammates, and I used to be a competitive swimmer as well. I grew up on this team, had many glorious and heartbreaking moments, and hope and pray that any help can come so that our Nat can still stay “alive” and provide a service to the swim team and to the public in the city of Monroe. Hilary, I apologize again because I am not trying to be tacky or annoying sending this to you on here, but I appreciate your time and feel free to contact me at the email I provided:
    Amanda Lemoine

  5. Wow I can truely relate to it never gets old watching someone you love do something they love and are good at. Just a few short years ago Michael was swimming in the Olympics and I was watching with my then 5 or 6 yo daughter, she watched with such intensity than she turned to me and said mom that is what I want to do!!! I told her she could do anything she wanted and I would help her. She swam on a team for the first year this year at the age of 8 and went to state in 4 out of 5 events(free, fly, back and medley relay). She placed 9th in her back stroke. Her favorite stroke is fly. I love watching her swim — we now follow Michael on facebook and she loves watching him swim and watching his technique. Please let him know that Michaela Rowell is watching and learning and would love to meet him one day for a swim workout!! Thank you for all you do!!
    Anna Rowell
    Marion, Iowa

  6. We never doubted that Michael could “bring it home” again .. just a matter of when he was going to put his considerably talents to use in the training pool. Congratulations to Michael .. and to his family!

  7. Thanks for these posts. They are so much fun to read that I don’t even mind the result being spoiled before I get home to see it on TV. Enjoy the rest of the week!

  8. Thank you for that report from the today’s swimming.
    Michael’s race was amazing! Huge congratulations and good luck for the last days of the Championships! Waiting for the 200 IM final!

  9. Thanks Hilary!! great to hear what’s going on. you’re a great sister supporting him. i’m thankful for my sister; she means as much to me as i can tell you do to big mike.

  10. GO MICHAEL GO!!!!

    Big congrats to Michael for HIS race! The 200m Fly has been, continues to be and will ALWAYS be his!

    Good luck for the 200 IM – you can beat Lochte!!!!

  11. Our son Douglas swam for 17 years(through college) & your description of rocking etc. in the stands brought back so many memories of the ups & down of watching him compete!! Thanks for the notes.

  12. I love reading the behind the scenes blog. Being in Oklahoma I don’t have a chance to really get to see or hear about Michael swimming, except for the Olympics. I am a huge fan and was jumping up and down when he won his 8 medals. I know that it must be so wonderful to watch him swim. Thank you for keeping all the fans up to date with this blog. I know I appreciate it.

  13. I live in Italy and i wake up at 3 am to watch Michael’s race, even if they’re only heats. In my opinion he is not only the best swimmer, but even the best athlete ever!!! Congrats to Michael and to you, your family is really the best example of a family that an athlete could give!
    For the next races….go michael, go! We’re swimming with you, even from Italy 😉

  14. I`m a 55 year old woman , that loves to swimm and I don`t do it bad I´m pretty good!!
    My name is Anna and a lIVE IN ARGENTINE
    SO IF U CAN SEND me your videos while trainning , I like the way u train!!

  15. It is so nice to read about a mothers memories. My son did club swimming for many years and seeing him win his first big race and then watching him race his last race this year was sad but filled with wonderful memories. For a mom I don’t think it matters to what level of success our child achieves something just seeing the smile on their face when they have reached that goal is unforgettable. Thank you for sharing your story and congrats to Michael.

  16. First of all a huge thank you for writing this blog. It is incredible great in what way you support Michael. I were smiling while sitting before the TV screen yesterday not only because Michale won the 200m butterfly (but it was definitly great to see how he swam the race) but also it was the first time they shew you all on the screen.
    So greeting to the whole Phelps family. I really hope to see you someday live and especially seeing Michael swimming live.

  17. Josefina Cuasay

    hi hilary, thanks for the blog and please send my greetings and good luck wishes to michael. watched the 200 fly in you tube he´s amazing. he had also a great race in 200 im. he needs no more proofs to establish himself as the greatest swimmer of all time coz his accomplishments as a swimmer is so huge and so great that it will be difficult to break. admire him so much coz he knows the true values of a family. miss whitney here hope she will be with the phelps team next 2012 olympic….so sad to think he will retire soon……good luck to all of you.

  18. Janet Johnson

    Thanks for your wonderful updates. I find your reports the best and most informative. Give the best to Michael and all the other great USA swimmers.

  19. Go Michael!

    Thank you so much for these posts. They are incredibly interesting to read. My son is 9 and is getting into swimming and he thinks Michael is amazing. And Mark Spitz. Mainly because he thinks the name Spitz is fun to say 🙂

  20. We have been following Michael’s career since Sydney 2000 and I must say that your first person accounts are great. It’s like being there in the stands with you cheering him on. What an amazing experience this has been and continues to be for all of you. Thanks again for sharing it.

  21. My Facebook status: There is a World Aquatic Championship (FINA) going on right now in Shanghai. American swimmers are winning gold medals and setting world records. 21 medals to date. Not a word about it in the New York Post or Daily News. So sad!

  22. Hi Hilary, this is Yvonne, the Hong Kong girl you met on 7/28. It’s so nice of you! I really enjoy the game and Michael is awesome. Please come to Hong Kong if you have time! Wish Michael all the best!

  23. Michael Foote

    Loved the story Hilary…. As always it sort of hits the heart of the person reading it. Hope you don’t mind, but I had to share this with all my facebook friends as well. Michael is simply The Greatest in the World, and the Phelps Family is Gold in my book !


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