(CNN) — The records kept tumbling for Michael Phelps Thursday as he beat arch-rival Ryan Lochte to win the men’s 200m individual medley.
It was the 16th gold medal of his remarkable Olympic career, but his first in an individual event at the London Games.
The 27-year-old from Baltimore becomes the first man to win gold in the same event at three consecutive Olympics and extends his record breaking overall medals tally to 20.
It came just 48 hours after he won his 18th and 19th Olympic medals to overtake Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina in the all-time list.
Phelps led from start to finish to hold off Lochte down the final freestyle leg to win in one minute 54.27 seconds, just 0.04secs outside his own Olympic record.
Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh claimed the bronze medal.
Lochte had taken bronze behind fellow American Tyler Clary in the earlier final of the men’s 200m backstroke and Phelps said his rival for gold would have been feeling that effort.
“That was cool, I knew Ryan (Lochte) would be tough but coming off the 200 back that was a hard double,” he told BBC Sport.
Phelps, who revealed he had received a congratulatory phone call from U.S. President Barack Obama, has two more events to add to his tally before retiring from swimming.
He qualified for the final of the men’s 100m butterfly later Thursday by winning his semifinal in 50.86 seconds and will be a member of the American medley relay squad.
Earlier, Rebecca Soni broke the women’s 200m breaststroke world record for the second time in two days to win Olympic gold.
Soni won in two minutes 19.59 seconds, the first woman under the magic two minutes 20 second barrier.
Japan’s Satomi Suzuki took silver and Russian Yuliyia Efimova earned bronze.
Ranomi Kromowidjojo broke the American dominance by claiming the women’s 100m freestyle gold for the Netherlands.
She edged out Aliaksandra Herasimenia of the Belarus with Tang Yi of China taking bronze.