Phelps in repeat of Beijing Olympics

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

Swimming

The clash between Milorad Cavic and Micheal Phelps was one of the most eagerly anticipated events at this summer’s Swimming World Championships in Rome.

The pair have a growing rivalry, and both are unquestionably the two titans of the 100m butterfly.

At the Beijing Olympics last year, Phelps beat Cavic by one hundredth of a second to storm to a controversial gold medal. In real time it seemed Cavic had successfully fought of a resurgent Phelps. Upon closer inspection it was clear that Phelps had pipped the Serbian to first place.

In the semi finals, Cavic set the tone smashing the existing World record clocking up a time of 50.01. In the other semi final, Phelps could only manage a time of 50.48 after a difficult year outside of the pool.

The American has amassed an intimidating Olympic medal haul of 14 gold medals and two bronze medals. But after his decorated campaign in Beijing where he surpassed Mark Spitz as he won 8 gold medals at a single games, he was caught in a drug controversy.

The News of the World photographed Phelps using a bong which is used for smoking marijuana. Phelps admitted to ‘regrettable’ behaviour. He was subsequently banned from the sport by USA swimming for three months.

Phelps has already seen world records he had set broken in this swimming championship. Amid all the talk over the polyurethane suits, with his rival Cavic offering to buy one for Phelps, the American did his talking in the pool.

Phelps had a slow start with Cavic entering the water first and capitalising on a sluggish initial twenty metre from the Olympic champion. At the turn Cavic was 0.18 seconds under the World record and ahead of Phelps.

Indeed Phelps lay in 5th place and was some way of the pace. However Phelps has earned a reputation of possessing a strong back end to a race, and he once again revived his title hopes with a ferocious second 50 metres.

He timed his comeback to perfection, overtaking Cavic in the final 10 metres. An emotional Phelps thrashed the water in celebration, venting of any aggression left after an awesome swim.

He smashed Cavic’s world record, dipping underneathth 50 seconds for the first time in the event, setting a new World record time of the 49.95. Speaking to the British media after the final, Phelps spoke of how there had been “alot of talk” leading up to the event.

He said: “My emotions all came out, to be able to do the best times in the butterfly without much training was great.”

His rival Cavic spoke of his fear at the turn that their could be a repeat of 2008, as he thought to himself “oh he’s going to come back”. He also admitted to “lose to the best in the world” was “ok” with him.

Britains Liam Tancock set a new world record in the semi final of the backstroke of 24.08. Jo Jackson claimed a bronze medal in the 800m freestyle to maintain an impressive world championships so far by the British athletes.

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