Despite 7 Years Into Retirement, This Michael Phelps Record Might Stand Unbeatable for the Century

Published 11/02/2023, 12:38 PM EDT

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Michael Phelps, also known as The Baltimore Bullet, Flying Fish, or Mr. Swimming, is the greatest swimmer alive. With a storied career spanning over the years, the legend shattered records and set a new legacy in the world of swimming. With a total of 28 Olympic medals, he is the most decorated Olympian to this day.

When it comes to world records, although his five individual records bear other names today, he remains the legend of the pool. However, despite seven years into retirement and his broken individual records, there is still one record by the legend that might stand unbeaten for this century.

A Michael Phelps record that might remain unbeatable for the century


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In a recent post on Instagram shared by Swimming Stats by SwimSwam, they shared the legacy of the legend and some of the greats in swimming. The page posted a list called “MOST WORLD RECORDS SET IN THIS CENTURY,” which included “MALE SWIMMERS, INDIVIDUAL EVENTS ONLY AS OF NOV. 1, 2023.”  On the list, reigning high above the rest, Phelps stood towering with a total of 29 records in long course meters from 2001 to 2009. Following Phelps’s nearly 14 records below, Aaron Peirsol came in next with 15 records in total, 13 of which were in long course meters and 2 in short course meters from the years 2002 to 2009.

In third place was Ryan Lochte, with 14 records in total: 4 in the long course meters and 10 in the short course meters. Cameron Van Der Burgh, Adam Peaty, Ian Crocker, Caeleb Dressel, Ed Moses, Roland Schoeman, Thomas Rupprath, and Peter Marshall were among the swimmers on the list. Although they have proved over the years that they are formidable names in the world of swimming, to this day, Phelps remains undefeated in the total number of world records set. This iconic triumph also brought the spotlight to the immense talent that shattered Phelps’ records.


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The broken records of Phelps

Phelps had previously held the five individual records in the 200m butterfly, 200m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 400m individual medley, and 100m freestyle; however, over time, these records were broken by iconic talents. The 200-meter butterfly world record was set by  Kristóf Milák of Hungary at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. The 200-meter freestyle record was set by Paul Biedermann with a time of 1:42.00 at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.


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The 200-meter individual medley was broken by Ryan Lochte with a time of 1:54.00 at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai. The 400-meter individual medley record was set by Leon Marchand of France at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, in July 2023. The 100-meter freestyle world record was set by David Popovici at the 2022 European Aquatics Championships in Rome.

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In sports, records are meant to be broken, and these incredible swimmers with sheer determination have proved that. However, Phelps, despite his retirement, still remains “Superman” in the world of swimming.

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Written by:

Christaline Meyers


One take at a time

Christaline Meyers is a US Sports Writer for Essentially Sports. Having contributed to movies and web series, Christaline delved into sports journalism and like the puck on the ice, has been a force to be reckoned with in the US sports arena. Her ability to capture the true essence of Gymnastics keeps the readers engaged throughout the content she creates.
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Edited by:

Sampurna Pal