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NPR's Howard Berkes reports on the swimming events on 'Morning Edition'

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Phelps Collects 6th Gold In Beijing, 12th In Career

Phelps Collects 6th Gold In Beijing, 12th In Career

NPR's Howard Berkes reports on the swimming events on 'Morning Edition'

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Water forms a fin-like shape on Michael Phelps' back as he swims in the butterfly semifinal i

Michael Phelps of the United States competes in the 100-meter butterfly semifinal at the National Aquatics Center on Day 7 of the Beijing Olympics. Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Water forms a fin-like shape on Michael Phelps' back as he swims in the butterfly semifinal

Michael Phelps of the United States competes in the 100-meter butterfly semifinal at the National Aquatics Center on Day 7 of the Beijing Olympics.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

At the Olympic swimming pool in Beijing, it's now six gold medals down and two to go for American Michael Phelps. The 23-year-old from Baltimore broke his own world record in winning the 200-meter individual medley.

Three times, Americans stood on the gold medal stand. Rebecca Soni's name was drowned out by cheers. She won the first race of the day, the 100-meter breaststroke. The second was the 200-meter backstroke; Ryan Lochte set a new world record and then dove back into the pool for the 200-meter individual medley. But he was up against Phelps.

For the sixth time at these games, Phelps stood with a gold medal around his neck, a big lug of a guy with a big smile, big ears and big feet.

He has two more chances for the same scene. First it's 100 meters of his best stroke, the butterfly. But it's a short race, so Phelps can't afford to start behind, like he did in preliminary heats. He has raced in 15 heats, semifinals and finals in the past six days.

"I have to conserve as much physical and emotional energy as I can. And I'm just going to try and rest and recover as much as I can and prepare myself for those races," he said.

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