Michael Phelps qualifies for fifth Olympics

The legendary swimmer will be going to Rio this summer

Michael Phelps, swimming, Olympics,

Image: Mark J. Terrill / AP/Press Association Images

Michael Phelps has qualified for a fifth and final Olympic Games as he looks to retire on a high.

Phelps, who turns 31-years-old on Thursday, currently has 22 Olympic medals and will be hoping that he can add to that hugely impressive haul in Rio.

With 18 gold medals to his name, Phelps has topped the podium alone more than Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico or India have in their respective histories.

Already well clear at the top of the table as the most successful Olympian ever, Phelps secured his spot at the Games in Rio on Wednesday at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Nebraska.

In front of a sold-out crowd of 14,000 on the night, Phelps won the 200m butterfly in a time of 1:54.84, short of his world record pace of 1:51.51 in 2009. According to NBC, he has also recorded the best time in the world so far this year in three events; the 200m individual medley, as well as the 100m and 200m butterfly.

Speaking afterwards, he emphasised that he feels as though there's more to come from him despite the achievement of becoming the first American male swimmer to qualify for five Games. 

"Thinking about the ups and downs we've gone through, in and out of the pool, to get to this point and not feeling an absolute 100%, but still being able to get the job done. I think things are probably going to hit me a lot more emotionally now than what they would have in the past, because I'm enjoying the moment and I'm embracing the moment.

"I haven't felt great in the water but like I said, I'm checking a box off, being able to get on the team," said Phelps. "Getting on the team was the most important thing and that was the only thing I had to do tonight." 

Via RTE, NPR