Michael Phelps and Erik Vendt swam head-to-head in the men’s 400 IM final at the 2002 U.S. Summer Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on August 15. Tom Dolan held the world record in the event for over eight years, from 4:12.30 at the 1994 World Championships to 4:11.76 at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
In 2002, Phelps, then 17, had already posted a time of 4:14.15 at the Janet Evans Invitational. While Vendt, who had won silver in the 2000 Games with a record of 4:14.23, had a personal best of 4:13.89 from that year’s Olympic Trials.
It was a race for the ages, as Phelps used his butterfly strength to go out to a 2.6-second lead over Vendt after the first 100 metres, and then widened that gap on the backstroke.
Michael Phelps World Record 400 IM World Record
Additionally, Michael Phelps holds the record for the men’s 400-meter Individual Medley in the long course category.
Even more impressively, he once held the long course world record in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly, and 200-meter individual medley.
Going back in time to the Beijing Olympics of 2008, where he set out to win an unprecedented eight gold medals.
He did so in the most audacious way possible: by setting a new world record in the 400-meter individual medley.
When he broke the 4:05 barrier, he did so in mind-boggling fashion by shaving off 1.41 seconds from the previous world record.
No other swimmer has cracked the 4:05 barrier, let alone touched the now 36-year-olds world mark.
Helping cement it into the pantheon of all-time greatest swimming performances, in the 13 years and 157 days since Phelps’ opening Beijing performance.
Phelps’s record, set on August 10, 2008, is the longest one that has ever stood. Phelps’ 400-meter individual medley is the longest current long course record, although the United States’ 4×100 freestyle relay is the longest currently in use.
It was recorded on August 11, 2008, therefore that data is old. Phelps participated in that relay team as well. From 1912 to 1926, German swimmer Otto Farr held the men’s 100-meter backstroke world record.