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LONDON, England, August 2. JUST five minutes from receiving his unprecedented 20th Olympic medal by way of the first threepeat by a male swimmer in Olympic history with his win in the 200 IM, Michael Phelps turned in a sterling Olympic textile best in the men's 100-meter fly at the 2012 London Olympics.
With “Most Decorated Olympian Ever” and “First Man to Threepeat Ever” already now firmly planted in his legacy, Phelps has one more superlative to add — First Person to Ever Threepeat Twice.” He is well on his way to accomplishing that feat with a scintillating 50.86 to lead the way into the men's 100-meter fly final. That swim cleared his 51.25 from the 2004 Athens Olympics as the best in textile at the Olympics. His overall record of 50.58 still stands. With 20 medals now in hand, Phelps could still add two more with the 100 fly and 400 medley relay on his slate.
South Africa's Chad le Clos, who ended one of Phelps' earlier threepeat bids with a stunning upset in the 200 fly, qualified second in 51.42 after scratching the 200 IM finale to focus on this race. No one from South Africa has ever medaled in this event's history.
“I was so nervous coming down the first 50. Thankfully I got a good turn and a good finish again,” le Clos said. “I've got one more final tomorrow and the relay. Hopefully I can bring my time down again and see what happens tomorrow night. If you spoke to me a month ago, I would have said I might sneak eighth in the 100 butterfly. I really didn't think I would make the final and I came second. Congratulations to Michael Phelps for winning [the 200 IM]. On tonight's 100m fly he was a bit tired and made a great time so I think tomorrow night will be a little bit unrealistic to try and win. I'm next to him again so that will be another dream for me to swim next to Michael Phelps.”
USA's Tyler McGill would like to push Phelps to an American 1-2 after qualifying third in 51.61. Phelps and Ian Crocker previously posted an American 1-2 at the 2004 Olympics. Serbia's Milorad Cavic, who famously touched just .01 seconds behind Phelps in 2008, qualified fourth in 51.66.
“I was a bit slower than I expected (51.66 seconds) but I was afraid that this would be my last race,” Cavic said. “If I did not qualify this would have been the end of my career. I know what I need to change tomorrow and I know I can swim under 51 (seconds). If I win a medal tomorrow (Friday) this will be the 100th medal Serbia ever wins at the Olympic Games. I know that everyone in Serbia will be watching this race and this is the kind of support that I need.”
The Netherlands' Joeri Verlinden (51.75), Germany's Steffen Deibler (51.76), Poland's Konrad Czerniak (51.78) and Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin (51.85) also made the finale.
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