Michael Phelps defied the odds to deliver another crushing defeat to Milorad Cavic, besting the Serbian yet again in the 100m butterfly World Championships final.
Phelps smashed the 50-second barrier with a time of 49.82sec yesterday and handed Cavic a bigger defeat than the one he suffered by a fingertip at the Beijing Olympics.
Cavic lost by one-hundredth of a second to Phelps in the 100m fly at the Beijing Games and had hoped to turn the tables on the American superstar in Rome.
Phelps was having none of it.
"It was an incredible race, we all went a lot faster than I expected," said Cavic, who clocked 49.95sec.
As the crowd strained to watch them, Cavic made the most of the moment, taking up a stance facing Phelps across the blocks prior to the start.
"The atmosphere here in Rome for this race was unbelievable, just being down at the pool you could feel everyone around us, and you can't feel that anywhere else," said the Serbian.
Phelps, famous for rising to the big occasion, felt the tension as well.
"It was kind of cool, it was like the whole heat everyone's eyes were watching every move.