ROME, Italy, August 1. THE swimming world had it's eyes focused on the men's 100 fly at the FINA World Championships as Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic finally redid their epic duel in the event from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Last summer, Phelps touched out Cavic by .01 seconds at the touch for the 100 fly Olympic gold medal. Cavic kicked the hype machine into full drive this week, stating earlier that he believed he touched first and that the Omega timing system was faulty in Beijing. Phelps kept his mouth shut, and focused his energies on the pool.
Phelps touched out Cavic again, but by a much wider margin this time as both cleared the world record and the 50-second barrier. Phelps won in 49.82, while Cavic finished second in 49.95. Both swims broke Cavic's world record of 50.01 set during semis.
"You saw me go nuts," Phelps said about the emotions of the race. "A bunch of my friends at home said I was going to take that record back. I just tried to stay as relaxed as I could. I knew if I was 23.4 or 23.5 that would be enough. After I saw Cavic out in 22.8 yesterday, I knew I had to be out faster. How can it not motivate you when there are things that are said that just fire me up? I will always welcome those comments."
Here are the comparative splits:
Phelps (f): 23.36, 49.82 (26.46)
Cavic (f): 22.69, 49.95 (27.26)
Cavic (sf): 22.83, 50.01 (27.18)
"I was pretty sure I would be more ahead at the 50-meter mark," Cavic said. "To my surprise, I held strong at the end. That's just what he is, he is the comeback king. That's a testament to Michael Phelps. He can do it all. I just told him that ‘He is the man' at the end of the race. I don't know what it is that I said wrong or that I was trash talking. It is just up to interpretation. I said some things that weren't directly to him. You can take one thing and turn it into something else and use it. I don't regret anything. We're trying to promote this sport. I'm just glad I can be a part of it with Mike."
Spain's Rafael Munoz finished third to complete the podium with a bronze-winning 50.41.
Venezuela's Albert Subirats (50.79), Australia's Andrew Lauterstein (50.85), Kenya's Jason Dunford (51.07), the United States' Tyler McGill (51.42) and Brazil's Gabriel Mangabeira (51.74) also competed in the finale.