As the heats progressed on the fifth day of action in the pool it emerged that US President Barack Obama tweeted his personal congratulations to Michael Phelps after the American swimmer set a new Olympic record of 19 medals.
@BarackObama tweeted: "Congrats to Michael Phelps for breaking the all-time Olympic medal record. You've made your country proud. -bo," to which the Baltimore swimmer replied: "Thank you Mr. President!! It's an honor representing the £USA !! The best country in the world!!" He then went off to qualify for the 200m medley semi-final, which will set up the final showdown between the greatest of greats and his teammate Ryan Lochte tomorrow.
Said Phelps, 27: "I started scrolling through thousands of mentions and I thought, man, this is a lot of things to look at. I just wanted to say thank you to all my friends who sent tweets to me, Obama and (Barcelona star Gerard) Pique the soccer player, there were a bunch of different athletes. Figures from all over the world were sending things, which was pretty cool."
Phelps was fourth fastest through to the medley semis in 1:58.24, Beijing 2008 silver medallist Laszlo Cseh, of Hungary, leading the way in 1:57.20, Lochte, Beijing bronze medallist, on 1:58.03, after having also qualified second fastest for the 200m backstroke, the defence of that first up tomorrow in finals.
Phelps said: "I didn't get much sleep last night, I didn't warm down at all. I guess we left the dining hall at 11.30 and got to the room at 12. I don't know when I fell asleep. This morning didn't feel too comfortable."