LONG BEACH, Calif., July 7 (UPI) -- Michael Phelps began his bid for Olympic glory Wednesday by qualifying for the American team with a world record in the 400-meter individual medley.
Phelps hopes to win as many as six individual Olympic gold medals next month in Athens. Along with appearances in relay events, Phelps could break the record of seven gold medals in one Games established by Mark Spitz in 1972.
First, however, Phelps must qualify for the Olympic in each of those events.
He opened the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials Wednesday by breaking his own world mark in the 400 IM. He was clocked in 4:08.41, reducing his record of 4:09.09 set a year ago.
Phelps also plans to try to qualify in the 100 and 200 butterfly, 200 backstroke, 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley. The 200 freestyle preliminaries and semifinals will be held Thursday.
The top two in each event will make the United States team. Erik Vendt finished second to Phelps Wednesday.