Michael Phelps Advances to Men's 200m Butterfly Swimming Finals and Beats Rival Chad le Clos in Heat

Phelps advanced to Tuesday's finals after taking second place with 1:54.12

Photo: Julian Finney/Getty

Michael Phelps excelled at the men’s 200-meter butterfly semi-finals.

Phelps, whose signature discipline is the butterfly, advanced to Tuesday’s finals after taking second place with 1:54.12. He took third place in the third preliminary heat, finishing in 1:55.73.

The most decorated Olympian in history has won two golds and a silver in the past three consecutive Olympic games in this event.

Phelps was especially eager to reclaim gold in the event after a poorly-timed finish allowed South Africa’s Chad le Clos to claim the first place spot at the 2012 London Games. Le Clos placed third in the same 200m butterfly semi-final heat as Phelps. Hungary’s Tamés Kenderesi took first place.

“I’m obviously excited for the finals,” Phelps shared following his heat. “It’s always fun getting in the water and racing him, he’s tough, he finished on me last time really well,” he said of competing against Le Clos in the finals.

The 2016 Olympics have already proven successful for Phelps. With son Boomer and fiancée Nicole Johnson cheering him on from the stands, the 31-year-old swimming icon earned his 19th gold medal – and 23rd overall – in Sunday’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

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Ahead of his Rio debut, Phelps already held the all-time record for the most Olympic gold medals (18), Olympic gold medals for individual events (11) and Olympic medals in individual events for a male athlete (13). The elite athlete had previously said that the 2012 London Olympics would be his last, but he came out of retirement in 2014 and went on to easily secure a spot on Team USA once again.

This year’s Olympics was already home of a few firsts for Phelps – he served as the flag bearer for his first-ever march with Team USA during the Opening Ceremonies and it also marks the first Olympics since he became a dad.

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