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August 4, 2009

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Cavic wants 1-on-1 duel with Phelps next year

TWO years seems too long to wait for Phelps-Cavic III. Especially for the challenger in the 100-meter butterfly. With no major international meet scheduled for next year, Milorad Cavic has proposed a 1-on-1 duel in the pool with Michael Phelps in 2010.

"I think for the promotion of swimming it would be wonderful if he and I could organize a duel, just a 1-on-1," Cavic said on Sunday.

"It would be a lot of fun. He is known as the promoter of swimming and we do need to bring this sport up to a higher level."

As it is, Phelps and Cavic might not meet in an Olympic-sized pool until the 2011 worlds in Shanghai.

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 swimming's governing body had to review the tape down to the 10-thousandth of a second.


The rematch at the Foro Italico was just as dramatic, with both swimmers trading jabs in the press beforehand and Phelps winning with a supposedly inferior swimsuit. For one day at least - and in a non-Olympic year no less - swimming was as big as baseball in the United States.

"We need to keep it going," Cavic said. "Somebody should put something together where the two best athletes in all the 100s and 50s in the world just come together and they make this duel meet.

"Just some neutral venue. I think it would be incredible for the sport. We meet there, we race the races and then afterward we just enjoy ourselves. It is a rivalry, but I don't have any negative energy versus Phelps."

While Phelps wouldn't engage in talk of personal challenges, his coach Bob Bowman didn't sound too interested in Cavic's offer.

"We race. We go to lots of meets," Bowman said. "They can come to any of the meets we go to."

Cavic's agent, David Arluck, suggested Dubai as a possible setting for a Phelps-Cavic exhibition.

"Peter Carlisle (Phelps' agent) and I get along really well, and I'm sure he understands it's important to maintain this rivalry," Arluck said.

Cavic also reached out to Phelps to join the anti-doping blood passport program he launched on his Website before the worlds, publishing his test results for the public to see.

"I think it would be really, really wonderful if he would join me in this initiative," Cavic said. "I think after the suit controversy is out of the way, the next big thing is to attack the real doping in sports. Simply, the urine tests are not doing it. We could do better and I think this blood initiative is the next step."


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