Record-breaker Phelps takes gold haul to 11

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The Independent Online

American swimming star Michael Phelps today became the most successful Olympic athlete of all time after claiming two more gold medals.

The 23-year-old's overall tally of 11 gold medals eclipses the nine won by fellow Americans, swimmer Mark Spitz and track and field star Carl Lewis, Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi and Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina.

Phelps collected his 10th gold in the 200 metres butterfly - shortly before propelling his team to gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

He has now won five gold medals in Beijing and is on track to beat Spitz's record of seven golds at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

In the women's 200m butterfly, British pair Jemma Lowe and Ellen Gandy failed to qualify for tomorrow's final, Lowe missing out by just 0.14s.

Lowe was inside world record pace after 50 and 100m before fading down the closing stretch to finish third in the first semi-final in 2:07.87.

That still looked good enough to advance but six swimmers went quicker in the second semi-final in which Gandy finished eighth in a time of 2:10.60.

Lowe was speaking to reporters in the mixed zone while the second semi-final took place, and watched as she was narrowly bumped out of the final.

"I gave it my best shot and that's all I can do," said the 18-year-old from Hartlepool. "My plan was to go out fast, yesterday I went out easier and my coach said I should go out faster and I think I'm back to my normal self.

"I've gone out under world record pace before, I died a lot on the last length and on the last few metres my arms were really struggling."

The women's swimming team have already bagged their best medal haul in decades, with Rebecca Aldington's gold and Joanne Jackson's bronze in the 400m freestyle.

In the men's 200m breaststroke, Britain's Kristopher Gilchrist and Ireland's Andrew Bree both failed to qualify for tomorrow's final.

Bree again lowered his Irish record with a time of 2:10.16 but finished 11th fastest overall, while Gilchrist was 13th quickest in a time of 2:10.27.

A big day of semi-finals is in store on the Shunyi rowing lake, with Britain's men's coxless four continuing their tilt at a third consecutive Olympic gold, Alan Campbell pitting himself in the single sculls against world record holder Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand and Matthew Wells and Stephen Rowbotham seeking success in the men's double sculls.

Team GB's women's eight also have a last chance to make their final through the repechage.