TEMPE, Ariz. - Michael Phelps is a man on a mission.
The most decorated Olympian of all time is back in the water and back on track, to bring home even more gold medals from Rio De Janeiro.
In 2004, "I was prepared; ’08 I was semi-prepared; 2012 I was not," Phelps told 12 News. "And I think going into this one I feel like I’m giving 100 percent for the first time.”
Despite that shocking admission, Phelps has raced his way to 22 Olympic medals overall and 18 gold medals.
This summer in his fifth Olympic games, Phelps will certainly have his work cut out for him. He’s now 31 years old and he’ll be swimming against elite athletes nearly half his age.
“I’m probably the strongest I’ve ever been...the leanest I’ve ever been,” he said.
Phelps is also training harder than ever before both on land and in the water.
And he’s put the past behind him.
It’s a past that includes his second DUI in 2014. Plus, a suspension from the sport he once retired from, but has discovered a new love for.
“Me being able to find the passion and love for the sport again was challenging," Phelps said. "But it just hadn’t been there in so long.
"It’s not like kicking and screaming going to the pool every day, it’s because I want to.”
One reason for that is Phelps' longtime coach Bob Bowman. Phelps has trained with Bowman for 20 years now, starting when he was just 11 years old in Baltimore, Maryland. When Bowman became the head coach at Arizona State University, Phelps followed and dove right into training in Tempe.
"We’ve had our ups and downs for sure," Phelps said of Coach Bowman. "We’ve gone through some interesting experiences together.”
Now Phelps is looking forward to his final races in Rio.
At the Olympic trials this summer he qualified in and won the 100 and 200 meter butterfly and the 200 meter individual medley. Plus, he could swim in three relays. That would give him the opportunity to win six more medals.
Phelps is certainly thinking about that and what it will be like when he stands on the starting block for the final time.
"The pool is the same," Phelps told 12 News. "It’s the same depth; lanes are the same width; there are just a couple of more people in the stands and a couple more cameras.”
And in Rio, there will be Phelps' family. That includes his fiance Nicole and his little swimmer, Boomer, who was born in May.
They'll all be in the stands watching the world’s best swimmer try to rewrite history one last time.
"Whatever the last race is," Phelps said, "whatever day it is, wherever I am, being able to have my family Nicole and newborn there to watch will be a very special day for all of us. And a day I will never forget.”