In the final 50 meters, you couldn't hear the announcers or the cheers in London. You could only hear the claps and the chants and the screams of "USA! USA!" in the cramped lobby at Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Center in Mount Washington.
It was here where Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps cut his teeth and it was here where, Saturday afternoon, thousands of miles away, dozens turned out to watch what he claims will be the final swim of his storied career.
Phelps and the Americans claimed the gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay. The win was his 22nd career medal and 18th career gold, in his fourth and final Olympics. Earlier this week, Phelps passed Larisa Latynina (18 medals) to become the most decorated Olympian of all time.
After the race, swimming officials honored Phelps' career achievements with a ceremony and silver trophy, the Associated Press reports.
Phelps swam the third leg of the relay and erased a slight Japanese lead before anchor Nathan Adrian opened up the lead to two seconds by the finish, sports blog Deadspin notes.
Binnie Bailey of Rodgers Forge showed up 20 minutes early with a borrowed pool chair and took in another race featuring another North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmer—Allison Schmitt, who was part of a world record-setting relay run just before Phelps took the pool.
"Except I'm probably going to stand up, because I can't sit down and watch," she said.
She's known Phelps, a Rodgers Forge native, since he was 11.
"There were several of us who thought, this is it, he was the one," she said, recalling first seeing Phelps swim with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. "It's been a wonderful, wonderful experience, and it's great for the area."
Watch our video and follow the rest of our Michael Phelps coverage.