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Thursday, 18 July 2019

Clary undaunted by racing Phelps and Lochte

Of the hundreds of swimmers competing at the Olympics, few face a tougher challenge than Tyler Clary but the American would not want it any other way

Reuters, Thursday 26 Jul 2012
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A glutton for punishment, the 23-year-old is going head to head against compatriots Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, in their favorite events.

While most people might shirk at the prospects, Clary is reveling at the thought of tackling Phelps in the 200 meters butterfly and Lochte in the 200m backstroke.

"It's an honor to be swimming in the same races as them," he told Reuters. "They're also my team mates as well, but I'm going to be trying everything I can to win. I've trained hard for this and I believe in myself."

Clary missed out on the Beijing Olympics after finishing behind Phelps and Lochte at the U.S. Trials but rather than try other events to avoid meeting them again, he dedicated himself to training with renewed motivation.

A year later, he qualified for the world championships in Rome, and won a silver medal behind Lochte in the 400 individual medley when Phelps decided he was no longer swimming the event.

He finished second to Lochte again at the 2011 world championships in Shanghai and was third in the 200 backstroke, again behind Lochte.

But his chances of making the Olympic team for London were dealt a blow when Phelps changed his mind and decided to enter the 400 individual medley.

Although he had finished second at the past two world championships and would have been an obvious medal contender, Clary could only manage third at the U.S. Trials so did not qualify.

However, he made up for disappointment when he finished second in the 200m butterfly and 200m backstroke to book his first berth to the Olympics.

"It's tough swimming against those guys but they're still just human like everyone else," Clary said.

"Everyone can be beaten and everyone can win on a given day and that's what I'm trying to. That's why I've trained so hard."

Once his spot on the team was secured, Clary also saw a silver lining from missing out on the 400 individual medley, one that gives him the chance to do something neither Phelps or Lochte has experienced.

Because the race is on the first day of competition, Phelps and Lochte will not march at the Opening Ceremony to save their energy for their races but not so Clary.

"I'm not swimming until the third day now, so I'm definitely going to march, I can't wait, it's going to be a great experience," he said.

"You can't take anything for granted and none of us know what's going to happen in the future so I wanted to experience everything I can at these Olympics.

"It was great swimming at the world championships but this is the Olympics. This is the one the whole world watches so I'm going to be proud to be marching for my country."

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