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August 3, 2009

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Home » Sports » Swimming

Cavic regrets pre-race salvo

MILORAD Cavic didn't have any regrets about his tactics after losing to Michael Phelps again on Saturday. It was his pre-race trash talk that he appeared most sorry about.

After heats on Friday, Cavic blasted Phelps for sticking with his Speedo swimsuit, offering to buy his rival one of the new, supposedly faster suits from Arena or Jaked. Cavic intimated that Phelps was compromising his chances of winning to maintain his lucrative contract with his sponsor.

"When I race Michael Phelps, I want him at his best. Because only when he's at his best could I ever feel like I've gotten the race I wanted," said Cavic, who wears Arena.

"Of course, winning is pretty important to me. But I want the atmosphere, I want the experience to be everything that it was tonight. There are no regrets. I did my best. He did something huge - huge. My only regret is I let the media make what it makes of it all."

In almost an exact replay of last year's Beijing Olympics, Phelps beat Cavic with a furious finish in the 100-meter butterfly, breaking the world record set by the Serb in Friday night's semifinals. Phelps clocked 49.82 seconds, Cavic touched in 49.95.

Cavic was nearly seven-tenths ahead of Phelps at the 50-meter mark, but he couldn't hold on to the lead on the second lap.

"It was an incredible race. We all went a lot faster than we expected," Cavic said. "Tactically, I didn't do anything wrong. I think I had a much better finish than usual. But I knew that if I was going to win this race, I needed a big enough lead in front of Michael, and at the 50-meter mark I turned and saw that he was much closer than I would have expected."

At last year's Beijing Olympics, Cavic came closer to beating Phelps than anyone else. The American-born Serb lost by a mere hundredth of a second, a finish so close that the Serbs filed a protest and FINA had to review the tape down to the 10-thousandth of a second.

After the Olympics, Cavic ended a seven-year spell working with coach Mike Bottom in California, deciding he wanted to move to Serbia. But the roof of his training pool in Serbia caved in and he ended up training with Italian coach Andrea Di Nino.


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