Michael Phelps (The Lord Of Atlantis) moved within reach of his goal of winning eight gold medals at the Beijing when he won his sixth on Friday with another world record.
The seemingly-invincible American-Poseidon stormed to victory in the 200 meters individual medley final, equalling his golden haul from Athens four years ago and leaving him just one short of matching Mark Spitz's record of seven golds in Munich in 1972.
'I have to conserve as much physical and emotional energy as I can now that I'm down to the last two races,' said Phelps, who also set his sixth world record in as many days.
Phelps led all the way to touch the wall in one minute 54.23 seconds, 0.57 inside his old record set last month, beating Hungary's Laszlo Cseh and team mate Ryan Lochte to continue his relentless bid for eight golds.
'If it was over, he'd be the greatest Olympian that ever lived,' his coach Bob Bowman said.
Phelps will be chasing a seventh gold in Saturday's 100 butterfly final and a possible eighth in Sunday's 4x100 medley relay after the American second-string qualified for the final, avoiding a repeat of last year's world championships when they were disqualified for a false start in the heats.
'It's a historic event and this relay could be the one for the eighth gold and you don't want to be the one to screw that up for him,' said Matt Grevers, who swam the opening backstroke leg.
Lochte wiped 0.38 off the record he shared with his team mate Aaron Peirsol when he surged away on the last length to win in 1:53.94. Peirsol held on for the silver while the bronze went to Russian Arkady Vyatchanin on a golden day in the pool for the U.S., who won three of the four finals.
'If he (Phelps) wasn't in this sport and swimming I don't think I'd be as good,' Lochte said. 'He is up there and he makes me become better and stronger in training. Without him I wouldn't be standing here today.'