(dpa) - Michael Phelps on Saturday equalled Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at one Olympics as he took the men's 100- metre butterfly at the Beijing Olympics.
Also winning gold on the day were Zimbabwean Kirsty Coventry and Britain's Rebecca Adlington, both in world record times, as well as Cesar Cielo, who took a first-ever swimming gold medal for Brazil.
The 41-year-old Dara Torres, meanwhile, could become the oldest- ever swimming gold medallist after qualifying for Sunday's women's 50m freestyle with the fastest time.
But once again it was Phelps who grabbed most of the headlines as swam to victory despite looking beaten at the turn when lying seventh.
But Phelps' pulled out all the stops on the final 50m and managed to win on the last stroke as he beat Serbian Milorad Cavic by just one hundredth of a second.
Phelps' time of 50.58 was an Olympic record. Bronze went to Australian Andrew Lauterstein in 51.12.
The 23-year-old said he did not at first believe that he had won. "When I took the last stroke I thought I lost the race there, but it turns out that was the difference.
"I feel a little bit of everything - relief, excitement, everything. I had to take my goggles off first to make sure the one was next to my name. When I saw the 50.58 and the 50.59 and I saw the one next to my name, that's when I sort of let my roar out."
He added that he did not think it was automatic that he would win his eighth gold medal in the 4x100m medley relay on Sunday. "It's not over yet. I really think the Australian team looks great for the relay on Sunday. It's going to be a tough race."
Coventry finally won Olympic gold in Beijing as she defended her Olympic 200m backstroke title from Athens with a world record time, after earlier picking up silver in the women's 100m backstroke, as well as the 200m and 400m individual medley.
The Zimbabwean won in a time of two minutes 05.24 seconds, beating American Margaret Hoelzer by 0.99 seconds. The bronze went to Japan's Reiko Nakamura in a time of 2:07.12.
Hoelzer held the previous world record of 2:06.09, swum at the US trials in Omaha last month.
Coventry said that she was particularly happy that her family was in the Beijing Water Cube to see her swim. "I'm so thrilled. The plan was to go in and put everything on the line and see what I have to go home with. I'm excited to hear the national anthem play and for everyone back home to hear it."
Cielo won a first-ever Olympic swimming gold medal for Brazil as he took the men's 50m freestyle in a time of 21.30.
An emotional Cielo, who was crying as he came out of the water, beat the French duo of Amaury Leveaux (21.45) and 100m freestyle winner Alain Bernard (21.49) into second and third place.
Cielo had earlier won the bronze medal over the 100m freestyle.
Britain's Adlington also became a multi-medal winner as she smashed the oldest existing swimming world record to win the women's 800m freestyle in a time of 8 minutes 14.10 seconds.
The old record was 8:16.22 set by American Janet Evans in 1989.
Second place went to Italian Alessia Filippi in 8:20.23, while Denmark's Lotte Friis took bronze in 8:23.03.
The 19-year-old Adlington had earlier also won gold in the women's 400m.
"It means everything to me and I never knew it was going to be like this. I just got in there and did my best. It's absolutely amazing. I've worked so hard and it's paid off."
In the women's 50m freestyle Torres qualified for Sunday's final with the fastest time of 24.27, with Australian Cate Campbell and Germany's Britta Steffen having the second and third-fastest times.