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With 39 world records (29 individual, 10 relay) as of December 19, 2009, Phelps has set more records than any other swimmer, surpassing Mark Spitz’s previous record of 33 world records (26 individual, 7 relay). All but two of the records were set in a long-course (50-meter) pool; records that currently stand are indicated in bold. Currently, he holds seven world records.
Marfan syndrome, a disease which can lead to defects of the heart valve and aorta, and substantially reduce the life expectancy of those it afflicts.
“If you reach out your arms and form a T and your wingspan is longer than your height, you can be at risk,” Phelps wrote.
Phelps, indeed, displays the classic symptoms of the disease. His elongated frame is now 193cm – about six feet and four inches on the old scale. But his arm span is considerably more at 208cm.
“In my case, those measurements have always been very close,” he wrote. “I didn’t know at the time why the doctor decided to look into this. My mom and Bob didn’t want me to freak out, so they told me that it was simply a good idea for young athletes to have an EKG [electrocardiogram] test in order to look at the heart.”
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