Woodward, Okla. — LONDON (AP) — Michael Phelps spent the day thinking about all the things he's doing for the final time at the pool. It turns out that included one last win over Ryan Lochte.
Phelps finally got a gold all his own at his final Olympics.
Adding to an already unprecedented medal collection, he claimed his first individual victory of the London Games and handed Lochte a double disappointment on his rival's final night in the pool Thursday.
Phelps set the tone right from the start with a dominating butterfly leg to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three straight Olympics in the 200-meter individual medley. He claimed his 20th career medal — and 16th gold — in 1 minute, 54.27 seconds, just off his winning time in Beijing but still good enough for gold, ahead of Lochte.
When it was done, there wasn't that water-pounding celebration we've seen so many times from Phelps — just a slight smile as he hung on the lane rope, gazing up at the stands and soaking it all in.
"Going into every call room, I said it's my last semifinal or my last prelim," Phelps said, reflecting on a busy day that included a morning swim, then two more races in the evening. "We're kind of chalking up all the lasts of certain things."
As he powered to the wall, his mom Debbie screamed, "Go! Go! Go!" When Phelps touched first, she dropped her head, kissed her two daughters — both former swimmers — and let the tears flow.
When Phelps stepped on the medal podium — yep, that familiar top rung — his eyes were glassy and he whispered a joke to Lochte, trying to keep the moment light. Then, staring up at the U.S. flag while the national anthem played, Phelps bit his lip and seemed to be struggling to hold back his own tears.