Phelps goes under 50 seconds in 100m butterfly


SWIMMING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS:AMERICAN LEGEND Michael Phelps took his tally of gold medals to five and in the process won the battle of the suit wars as the world swimming championships came to a close with another batch of world records set at Foro Italico in Rome.

Yesterday Phelps added the 4x100 metres medley gold to his four-gold medal tally which included the men’s 100 metres butterfly, the much talked about and anticipated races of the meet.

International swimming has unearthed a real grudge match-up between Phelps and the outspoken Serbian Milorad Cavic, who he beat by the merest one hundredth of a second at the Beijing Olympics last year much to Cavic’ chagrin.

The outspoken Cavic, who was suspended when he wore a “Kosovo is Serbia” T-shirt at the European Championships in Eindhoven last year, is still to this day convinced he beat Phelps in the 100 metres fly in China, even though timing and high-resolution photographs showed Phelps had touched first.

Cavic tried to wind up Phelps prior to Saturday’s race, bringing up last year’s race again, suggesting he had won it and even offering to pay for a full bodysuit for the American should he so desire. Phelps never took the bait and Cavic, wearing the Arena X glide full bodysuit which has caused such controversy at this year’s world meet, lined up against the multi-Olympic and world champion in his Speedo LZR with revenge on his mind and at the first 50 the Serbian had a half a body lead from the legendary American who was only fourth.

But Phelps began to eat up the water in the back half of the race and amazingly got past Cavic in the last five metres to win in a world record time of 49.82 seconds, the 37th and certainly the most stunning world best of the week, the first man under 50 seconds for the event.

Phelps almost fell in to the Serbian’s lane as he sat on the lane ropes in celebration pulling on his swimsuit aggressively and there was only the briefest of handshakes between the pair in the water after the race.

“I knew I had a strategy to follow and if it went like that I could win. It did and that’s not down to suits, it’s a matter of training,” said Phelps afterwards

“This is just a testament to Michael Phelps. Michael Phelps does what Michael Phelps can do. And he did!” said Cavic.

Phelps made it gold number five yesterday as part of the US 4x100 metre medley relay squad who won the final race of the championship, taking the world records to a total 43 as Aaron Peirsol, Eric Shanteau, Phelps and David Waters won in a time of three minutes 27.28 seconds, 2.04 seconds under their own world record.

The grudge match-up overshadowed the accomplishment of Brazilian Caesar Filho Cielo who competed the sprint double by taking the men’s 50 metre freestyle gold to add to his 100 metre success.

On Saturday 19-year-old Dubliner Karl Burdis won his heat of the 50 metres backstroke in an Irish senior record time of 25.40 seconds

Yesterday the Irish men’s 4x100 metre medley relay squad which included Burdis, Barry Murphy, Conor Leaney and Ryan Harrison, obliterated the Irish record in the heats, swimming a world-class heat-winning time of 3.39.87 seconds

Burdis, the lead-off leg swimmer, recorded a time of 54.44 seconds which broke his Irish record for the men’s 100 metres backstroke.

The Irish women’s 4x100 metre medley quartet of Aisling Cooney, Fiona Doyle, Gráinne Murphy and Clare Dawson swam their way to an Irish senior record of 4.12.67, taking over seven seconds off the previous mark.