Michael Phelps’ Olympic dream of eight gold medals could well be broken. The man to do it might be the former 100m butterfly short-course world record holder Milorad Cavic.
Cavic, originally born in Anaheim, California, is swimming for Serbia at this year’s Olympics. He participated at 100m freestyle, and qualified for the semifinals with the sixth best time (48.15), but dropped out because he wanted to focus on his signature race—the 100m butterfly.
Just like Phelps, Cavic participated in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. However, he didn’t have nearly as good results as the American.
In 2000 he swam 50m freestyle, while in 2004 he qualified for the semifinals of the 100m butterfly. Unfortunately, due to a swim suit defect which caused water to gush inside his suit, Cavic was unable to qualify for the finals.
The American public know Cavic from the many NCAA competitions. The Serbian used to swim for UC Berkeley, and has broken numerous school and division records.
Just to mention a few—in his freshman year (2002-03), he swam a school record at 100 yards butterfly (46.10). While he was a sophomore, he was elected into the All-American team for 100-meter butterfly, 400-freestyle relay, 200-medley relay, and 400-medley relay.
You can find out more about Cavic’s successes in NCAA here.
Cavic was also a two-time European junior and a two-time European senior champion. At the most recent European swimming long-course championship in Eindhoven, Netherlands, he set a European record at 50m butterfly in a time of 23.11.
He was later disqualified from the competition because he wore a T-shirt that said “Kosovo is Serbia” at the 50m butterfly medal ceremony—alluding to the Serbian southern province that had declared independence from Serbia only a month before the competition.
Just a few hours ago (20.12 Beijing time), Cavic broke the 100m butterfly Olympic record in the final qualifying group with a time of 50.76, beating Michael Phelps by 0.11 seconds.
The Serbian was tremendous at the start (Phelps’ speciality), and led in front of the American by a full body length for the first 50 meters. Phelps caught up with Cavic towards the end, but still had to settle for second.
The two men will be swimming in the semifinals tomorrow at 11.19 AM Beijing time, while the finals will be held the next day at 10:10 AM.
The world might be in for a surprise, as both the Serbian and the American have an equal chance to claim gold.