You, too, can now compete against Michael Phelps in the pool — at least virtually.

"Michael Phelps: Push the Limit," a video game for Xbox 360 systems in the works for more nearly three years and originally set to be released in June, finally shipped to North American retail outlets Tuesday. The game offers players the chance to compete against each other, as well as against Phelps, whose eight gold medals at the 2008 summer games make him one of the most decorated Olympians of all time.

"It's a truly amazing experience to now have a video game dedicated solely to swimming," Phelps, who grew up in Rodgers Forge and now lives in Baltimore, said in a press release from manufacturer 505 Games.

The game, which retails for $49.99, uses motion-tracking technology to closely replicate the experience of a competitive swim race. Players can work on perfecting their diving starts, timing their turns, optimizing their stroke rhythm and timing their final stretch for the finish. They can even amp-up the crowd.

The first plans for "Michael Phelp – Push the Limit" were announced just months after Phelps' record-breaking performance at the 2008 games in Beijing. Company officials say it is the first-ever swimming video game title.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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