Suddenly, Tyler Clary will be known for a lot more than his mouth.
Leading up to the 2012 Summer Games, Clary was best known for slamming Michael Phelps' work ethic (h/t Jim Alexander). His performance in the pool has changed all of that, as he set a new Olympic record and beat Ryan Lochte in the men's 200-meter backstroke on Thursday.
Clary's performance in this race, along with the emergence of Nathan Adrian, proves that American swimming is much more than just a two-man team of Lochte and Phelps.
The way he won this race is equally as impressive as the end result. His Olympic-record time of 1 minute, 53.41 seconds came by way of an insane push in the last 50 meters, as he beat out Lochte and Japan's Ryosuke Irie.
After the first 50, Clary was in fourth. After the second 50, Clary was in third. After the third 50, Clary was second, and then he made his final push for the record.
The entire thing was reminiscent of what we've seen Phelps do time after time throughout his career. The most impressive thing is that Clary is only 23 years old, and he's just starting to enter into the prime of his life.
Clary will likely return in 2016 to back up his phenomenal performance. He will have had time to continue perfecting his backstroke, and he'll be the man to beat.
Most of us wouldn't think to criticize Phelps' work ethic, but Clary did. His performance in this race proves that he not only had the guts to speak what was on his mind, but also the skills to back it up.
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