Not even 24 hours have passed since American swimming icon Michael Phelps threw down the world’s fastest 200m butterfly time in San Antonio that the worldwide trash talking has begun.
Phelps crushed at time of 1:52.94 to take the 200m butterfly title at U.S. Nationals, silencing any skeptics who thought the man was past his prime. But, rivals took to the mic to express their thoughts on the 18-time Olympic gold medalist’s performance.
Said Hungarian Laszlo Cseh when asked about Phelps’ #1 time in the world, “”It doesn’t [matter] because I won the world champs.”
South African Chad Le Clos’ also had some choice words after his own gold medal-winning 100m butterfly performance today at the World Championships. When asked about Phelps’ post-race, Le Clos offered up, “Michael Phelps has been talking about how slow the butterfly events have been recently. I just did a time he hasn’t done in four years. So he can keep quiet now.” Le Clos may be particularly sensitive Phelps’ in-pool response, seeing how the American’s 1:52.96 was .02 better that the time Le Clos registered to beat Phelps in the event at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
For his part, Le Clos raced to a new South African and African 100m fly record of 50.56 in Kazan today and actually logged the second-fastest textile swim ever in the event. In comparison, Phelps’ best 100m fly textile time is 50.65 from 2010.
We’ve seen in the past how competitors’ comments only up Phelps’ game and fuel his already evident “I absolutely hate to lose” racing spark.
After last night’s special swim, Phelps said, “It just shows you that anything is possible if you do want something bad enough. I went through a lot. And to be able to train like I did to get ready for this — I mean, I can do whatever I put my mind to. And this next year is going to be pretty damn fun.”
Phelps will contest the 100m butterfly race tonight in San Antonio, where he goes into the final as the second seed (52.12).