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On a hot Friday in August of 2015, Alzain Tareq managed to make an equally-big splash in the pool as Michael Phelps — at one-third his age. Tareq, who was targeting participation at the 2020 Olympics, became the youngest competitor ever in the world championships.

Ten-year-old Alzain placed 64th out of 64 swimmers in the 50-meter butterfly, but finished first in terms of media coverage. The young Bahraini swimmer trains five days a week after school in Manama under her father’s supervision.


Meanwhile, in San Antonio, Phelps proved the “butterfly effect” extends beyond chaos theory. His world-class time of 1:52.94 in the 200m fly at the U.S. national championships, sent shock waves felt all the way in Kazan, Russia, host of the 2015 world championships.

Phelps time would have garnered gold at the previous Olympics, and proved without a doubt that he was more than ready to add to his record haul of 22 medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.