Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time with 18 gold medals to his name, and he'll get an opportunity to earn more as he's punched his ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Phelps won the 200-meter butterfly finals at the USA Swimming Olympic trials on Wednesday for a fourth straight time. His time of 1:54.84 was good enough to earn him a record fifth appearance for a US male swimmer in the Olympics.
Phelps finished fifth in the event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, then took gold in the 2004 Athens Olympics. He defended his gold in 2008 (at the time his fourth of an eventual eight gold medals won in Beijing), but wound up with a silver medal in the event at the 2012 London Olympics. He finished just behind Chad le Clos of South Africa by a margin of 0.05 seconds that year.
Phelps is the only man to ever win the same event at the US Olympic trials four consecutive times, and it was nearly five straight considering he was the runner-up in the trials back in 2000. He'll try to repeat the feat in the 200-meter individual medley later in the week.
Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin both qualified in the 200-meter freestyle individual race for Rio on Thursday as well. Ledecky, the 2015 world champion, finished first with a time of 1:54.88 while Franklin, the 2013 world champion, came in just behind at 1:56.18. They came out ahead of Leah Smith and 2012 Olympic champion Allison Schmitt -- those two qualified for the 4x200-meter freestyle relay by placing in third and fourth, respectively.
In the men's 100-meter freestyle, Nathan Adrian raced to a time of 47.91 seconds, ahead of Caeleb Dressel in second at 48.52 second. They will advance to the finals in the event alongside Anthony Ervin and Conor Dwyer. In the women's 200-meter butterfly semifinals, Cammile Adams overcame a disqualification after it was overturned to put up the fastest time. Hali Flickinger, Kelsi Worrell and Cassidy Bayer all advanced to the finals as well.