ROME – Tyler McGill, a former star swimmer at Champaign Central, clocked 51.07 seconds in the 100-meter butterfly Friday and advanced to the finals at the FINA World Swimming Championships.
McGill's time was the eighth fastest in the semifinals.
Serbian-born Milorad Cavic, who still is convinced he defeated 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps at the Beijing Olympics, took Phelps' world record in the semifinals, clocking 50.01.
Cavic took some jabs at Phelps on Friday.
"They know I'm a player," Cavic boasted. "They know I've got a great deal of speed."
After the semifinals, Phelps wouldn't take the bait. He'll settle this one at the pool, in the race that really matters, wearing his same ol' suit.
Cavic can have the spotlight. For now.
Phelps wasn't too bothered about giving up his record because he knows the real race is today.
"I try to keep most comments to myself to fire me up on the inside," Phelps said, savoring his third gold medal of the championships after leading off for the Americans in the 800 freestyle relay. "I've had success doing that in the past, and I'm not about to start making comments now. I'll let the swimming do my talking."
Cavic takes a different approach. If there's something on his mind, he'll say it. He doesn't really care who he offends – even the guy who won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.
After the morning prelims, Cavic said he's tired of hearing complaints from the Phelps camp about competing in an inferior suit, even offering to buy him one of the polyurethane models responsible for most of the world records at the Foro Italico.
In the evening semifinals, Cavic nearly became the first swimmer to break 50 seconds, settling for a world record in his speedy Arena X-Glide suit. Phelps was the second-fastest qualifier at 50.48.
"I didn't want to go out so fast, but I had so much energy in my body that I couldn't help it," said Cavic, who broke Phelps' mark of 50.22.