By John Lohn
OMAHA, Nebraska, July 4. ANYONE interested in another round of Michael Phelps vs. Ian Crocker in the 100 butterfly? Thought so. The latest chapter of their sterling rivalry will unfold tomorrow night, and that world record of 50.40 just might be in jeopardy. The record has stood since the summer of 2005.
Even if the record doesn't go, Phelps and Crocker are likely to produce a great race, as has been the case numerous times over the years. Not long after winning the 200 individual medley in world-record time, Phelps claimed the top seed for the final of the 100 fly by recording a performance of 51.10. That outing was followed by Crocker's second semifinal victory of 51.52.
The Phelps-Crocker rivalry has been a back-and-forth affair, with Phelps winning Olympic gold in 2004 and the world championship in 2007. As for Crocker, he was the world champ in 2003 and 2005. Time will tell who gets the upper hand next. The final is scheduled as the second event of tomorrow night's program.
"I'm feeling pretty good," said Crocker, who had yet to shave. "I just want to get on the team right now."
Qualifying in the third slot for the final was Gil Stovall, who earlier in the week earned an Olympic bid in the 200 butterfly. Dipping under 52 seconds for the first time, Stovall was timed in 51.86. Tyler McGill was fourth in 52.20 and Chris Brady, with another personal best, clocked in at 52.35. The semifinal field will be filled out by Bobby Bollier (52.58), Davis Tarwater (52.59) and Peter Verhoef (52.4).
Video Footage Removed Due to NBC Restrictions
Go to Swimming World's 2008 Olympics Landing Page for the most comprehensive coverage of the meet on the Internet.