OMAHA, Neb. Michael Phelps set another world record. No surprise there.
Dara Torres is going back to the Olympics. Who would've believed it?
Fresh off an endorsement from Mark Spitz, the iconic star he'll try to better in Beijing, Phelps set another world record to win the 200-meter individual medley at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Friday night.
Phelps claimed his fourth individual victory of the trials in 1 minute, 54.80 seconds, beating the mark of 1:54.98 he set while winning seven events at last year's world championships in Australia.
"I just tried to hang on," he said. "I was hurting that last 50."
It was the second world record of the meet for Phelps, who also swam faster than anyone in history to win the 400 IM. His only piece of unfinished business: the 100 butterfly and an expected showdown with world record holder Ian Crocker.
Phelps must finish first or second in that event tonight to ensure he swims eight events at the Olympics. Then he'll need to win them all to beat Spitz's record of seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Spitz, who was at the Qwest Center and presented Phelps with his award for winning the 200 IM, believes the 23-year-old from Baltimore has a good chance to take down the Holy Grail of Olympic records. He came close four years ago, winning six gold and two bronze medals at the Athens Games.
"It's time for someone else to take the baton of responsibility," Spitz said. "Thirty-six years is a long time."
It's been a long time since Torres made her first Olympic team 24 years, to be exact. Now 41 and with a 2-year-old daughter, she completed her improbable Olympic comeback, making the U.S. team for the fifth time by winning the 100 freestyle.
Wearing goggles older than some of her competitors, Torres got off to a blazing start and guarded her lead on the furious return lap to win in 54.78. Cheering her on in the stands was Tessa, who was in her mother's arms at the awards ceremony.
Torres, who made her Olympic debut at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, has twice retired from competitive swimming. A nine-time medalist, she already was the first U.S. swimmer to make four Olympic teams.
Now, make it five.
Torres climbed from the water with a big smile and gave her coach, Michael Lohberg, a long hug. She broke down in tears while "American Woman" blared from the speakers.
"I'm ecstatic. I can't believe it," Torres said. "It's sort of bittersweet for me because I've made my fifth Olympic team, but I'm going to be away from my daughter for a month and that's really hard emotionally.
"But I'm happy to be going to Beijing."
Overshadowed by Phelps and Torres, Aaron Peirsol gained a measure of revenge for his upset loss at the 2007 world championships, tying the world record in the 200 backstroke and beating nemesis Ryan Lochte.
The two were stroke for stroke the whole race, but Peirsol lunged to the wall just ahead of Lochte to win in 1:54.32, equaling the mark set by Lochte at the last worlds. This time, the laid-back Floridian was two-hundredths of a second slower, leaving him in second place.
"We almost tied there," Peirsol said. "It's weird sharing it, but I have no problems with that."
Lochte smiled when he saw the time. The two shook hands, and Peirsol patted his rival on the head, both of them mindful the stakes will be much in their next race.
The top two qualified for Beijing.
Lochte had a pair of runner-up finishes on a grueling night, returning about 28 minutes after his loss to Peirsol to finish second to Phelps in the IM.
Phelps also raced twice Friday night. He followed his world record by posting the fastest semifinal time in the 100 butterfly at 51.10. Crocker was second in 51.52.
On hand for the awards ceremony, Spitz draped a medal around Phelps' neck and pointed toward him while the crowd cheered, a gesture that everyone took as his acceptance that seven golds is a record that won't last much longer. Phelps headed around the deck to receive his applause; Spitz went the other way and disappeared down a staircase.
"It's an honor," Phelps said of his latest meeting with Spitz. "Without a doubt, he's probably one of the greatest Olympians of all time. To have him here and wish me good luck, that's definitely something that's meaningful."
Amanda Beard is also heading back to the Olympics. She became a four-time member of the U.S. team by finishing second to runaway winner Rebecca Soni in the 200 breaststroke.
"I never get used to this," Beard said. "I'm pumped. This is fun."
Soni touched far ahead of the field in 2:22.60 to make her first Olympic squad just off Beard's American record of 2:22.44 set at the 2004 trials.
Beard, who first competed at the 1996 Atlanta Games and won the 200 breast at the last Olympics, took a long layoff after Athens. She looked to be a long shot but managed to finish second in 2:25.13, holding off Caitlin Leverenz by less than a second.
In the 50 free semifinals, defending world champion Ben Wildman-Torbriner advanced to Saturday's final as the top qualifier, while Gary Hall Jr. kept himself in the running to become the first swimmer to win the same event in three straight Olympics. The 33-year-old Hall has the fourth-quickest time in the furious one-lap sprint.