For some athletes, focusing ahead of an important race can prove difficult. But Michael Phelps isn’t your average athlete, so the sight of South Africa’s Chad Le Clos shadowboxing in his line of sight prior to the start of the second semifinal heat of the 200 meter butterfly didn’t get him off his game.
Phelps finished the race in 1:54.12, posting the second-best qualifying time and advancing into Tuesday’s final with ease. As for Le Clos, he finished third in that heat and fourth overall with a time of 1:55.19. Hungary claimed two of the top three seeds in Tuesday’s final, with Tamas Kenderesi finishing with a time of 1:53.96 and Laszlo Cheh finishing in 1:55.18.
Phelps has now qualified for the final in the 200 butterfly five times, a feat that had never been accomplished before Monday.
What antics will Le Clos use in an attempt to distract Phelps prior to Tuesday’s final? And will they have any kind of impact on the man who has won 19 gold medals in his storied career?