POSTED: Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 12:55pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 12:56pm
London — All eyes will be on the pool Thursday on day six of the Games, as U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps seeks to write another page in the history book with a third consecutive Olympic gold in the same individual event.
If he steams to victory in the men's 200-meter individual medley final, he will be the first man to achieve the feat, although two women have managed it.
Phelps will be in lane 3 for the race, but standing between him and history may be fellow U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte in lane 4, in their second showdown of the Games.
Lochte came out on top in the pair's first head-to-head contest, taking gold in the 400-meter individual Saturday while Phelps could only manage fourth.
But Lochte also swims in the 200-meter backstroke final Thursday, just a half-hour before the 200-meter individual medley, giving him little time to recover.
Phelps made sporting history this week when he became the Olympian with the most medals, surpassing Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's record of 18. The Baltimore native now has 19 medals to his name: 15 golds, two silvers and two bronzes.
If he fails to take gold Thursday, he has only one more chance to make it three in a row at these Games: the 100-meter butterfly final Friday.
He won his heat for the butterfly in a quick time Thursday and is quoted on the official Games website as saying, "I knew today was going to be a fast one. This is my last prelim swim ever, so it was fun to be able to do a fast time."
Phelps also described the moment he received a phone call from President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
"He just got on and was saying how everyone is supporting me and is behind me at home and how proud everyone is of me. That was pretty cool," Phelps is quoted as saying. "And he finished by saying, 'Make sure you tell your mom I said hi.' It was a good call."