Michael Phelps announces retirement again: 'This time, I mean it'

Michael Phelps is hanging up his swim cap for good — and this time, he's serious.

The 23-time Olympic gold medalist has been down this road before, previously announcing his retirement before returning to the pool. Four years ago, Phelps sat down with Matt Lauer and announced the London Olympics would be his final Games, but clearly, things didn’t pan out that way.

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Lauer spoke with Phelps again Monday and teased the Olympian about his previous announcement.

"Done, done, done — and this time, I mean it," Phelps said during the interview on "Today." "I wanted to come back and finish my career how I wanted, and this was the cherry on top of the cake."

After competing in London, Phelps admitted he was no longer “in love” with swimming, but now things are different.

“I was so much more emotional,” he said. “I knew this was the last time. I knew this was the last race and the last Olympics that I ever had, and everything just really hit hard.”

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When he officially retires, Phelps said he will want to focus on building a family with his fiancée, Nicole Johnson, and trying to change the sport of swimming.

“I really want to try to change the drowning rate that we have,” he said. “We’ve been able to teach thousands of kids, but I want the numbers higher.”

Phelps insisted that the world will not see him compete in Tokyo after seeing a video of teammate Ryan Lochte insisting that Phelps will be there. Phelps essentially passed the torch to fellow Team USA swimmer Katie Ledecky.

“We are in great shape, not only with Katie but with the team we have now,” Phelps said. “It’s been an honor for me to be on the team with her and some of the younger guys.”

>> Click here to watch Phelps' interview with Matt Lauer

(h/t "Today")

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