SALINAS, California - It’s been a week since 10-year-old Filipino-American Clark Kent Apuada broke a record that decorated Olympian Michael Phelps set in 1995.
Apuada won the 100m butterfly event at the Far West International Championship, breaking Phelps’ record by a second, much to the delight of his long-time trainers.
"A second in swimming is a smash,” said Salinas Aquatic Center Head Coach Dia Rianda.
“Usually in swimming when you break records it's in a hundredth of a second or tenths of a second at the most. So a second even for a 10-year-old is smashing a record.”
Senior Coach Travis Rianda adds, “It's amazing and it's scary for any of you competitors of his out there because if you're posting faster times than him he's just going to put those as his goals and he'll come for those times."
Apuada’s record-breaking feat has already been featured in major news outlets all over the world including Time, BBC, and Sports Illustrated.
But what surprised Apuada was to hear that Phelps, himself, congratulated him on Twitter saying, “Big congrats to #clarkkent for smashing that meet record!!! Keep it up dude!! #dreambig.”
Apuada responded, “I was like wow, whoa! I didn't know Michael Phelps would tweet anything on social media. I were to tell him thank you and he's such an inspiration to me."
Despite the attention, Apuada remains centered on his love for the sport.
"I'm trying to stay humble and make sure that if I get an interview I'm able to compose myself and I need to be able to focus on swimming and focus on my studies," he said.
With the Phelps record conquered, Apuada is already setting his sights higher.
"My ultimate goal is to make [it] to the Olympics in 2024, 2028,” said Apuada. “So I feel like if I have the motivation and the determination to make it to the Olympics I can really do that."
Apuada's parents have said that the Philippine government has personally reached out to congratulate him and that there are already plans to recognize him in front of his Filipino community in his hometown of Salinas, CA.