Phelps tells 'Superman' to keep it up

Clark Kent Apuada broke Michael Phelps' 100m butterfly 10-and-under meet record set at the Far Western International Age Group Championships in 1995. The 10-year-old Clark won all seven events he competed in.
Clark Kent Apuada broke Michael Phelps' 100m butterfly 10-and-under meet record set at the Far Western International Age Group Championships in 1995. The 10-year-old Clark won all seven events he competed in.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SALINAS VALLEY AQUATICS

Retired swim legend encourages 10-year-old boy Clark Kent who breaks his 23-year meet record

Clark Kent Apuada's friends call him "Superman" and, after Sunday, that might not just be because of his name.

The 10-year-old Filipino-American got the swimming world talking when he broke a meet record set by Michael Phelps in 1995.

He won the 100m butterfly in 1min 9.38sec at the Far Western Long Course Championships in California, taking more than a second off the American legend's 10-and-under record of 1:10.48.

But he was still some way off Phelps' former United States 10-and-under mark of 1:08.54. It was set in 1996 but has since been eclipsed by Carson Foster (1:07.24) in 2012 and Andrew Rogers, who lowered it twice to 1:05.98 at a 2015 Texas meet, reported the Washington Post.

"That was one of my dreams - to beat Michael Phelps' record - since I was seven," said Clark, who represents Monterey County Aquatic Team, in a video.

The most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 medals, 23 of them gold, took to Twitter yesterday to give the young swimmer a proverbial pat on the back for his feat.

NEXT STOP, THE OLYMPICS

Paris 2024 or Los Angeles 2028. This record has motivated me to keep swimming, to keep striving and do everything I can to get to that elite level. Never give up on your dreams. Never.

CLARK KENT APUADA, on his goals.

The 33-year-old retired swimmer tweeted: "Big congrats to #clarkkent for smashing that meet record!!! Keep it up dude !!#dreambig." In response, the overjoyed Clark could only say: "Whoa!"

The fifth-grader, who has been swimming competitively for four years, ended up winning every event he competed in, including the 50m and 100m in each of the butterfly, backstroke and freestyle categories and the 200m individual medley.

According to his mother Cynthia, his name came about because she liked the name Clark and Superman was his father's favourite superhero. "We're always just telling people his name is Clark," she told the Huffington Post.

"But, when they realise his full name, people just call him 'Superman'."

Clark has already set his sights on competing at the Olympic Games, where Phelps made his debut at the age of 15 at Sydney 2000.

"Paris 2024 or Los Angeles 2028," he told the Huffington Post.

"This record has motivated me to keep swimming, to keep striving and do everything I can to get to that elite level. Never give up on your dreams. Never."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2018, with the headline 'Phelps tells 'Superman' to keep it up'. Print Edition | Subscribe