Aug. 15, 2008
BEIJING, CHINA - Milorad Cavic, a former University of California standout, was edged out by superstar Michael Phelps, narrowly missing a gold medal by .01 seconds in the finals of the 100-meter butterfly Friday night (Saturday morning, Aug. 16 Beijing time) at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Cavic, swimming for Serbia, produced a time of 50.59, only to fall to Phelps' Olympic record 50.58 as Phelps tied Mark Spitz's record of seven Olympic gold medals Spitz had set at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Earlier at the Water Cube (National Aquatics Center), Cavic had set an Olympic record with a 50.76 in the opening heats, topping Phelps' mark of 50.87. Cavic then won his semifinal heat with a time of 50.92, the fastest semifinal mark entering the finals.
Competing for the Golden Bears from 2003-06, Cavic won four NCAA titles as a member of Cal's 400 free relay in 2003; and 200 free, 400 free and 200 medley relays in 2005. He was also the individual Pac-10 champion in the 100 fly in both 2003 and 2004.
Cavic, who grew up in Tustin, Calif. after his parents, Dusko and Ljilljana, had immigrated to the United States in 1982, is the first Serbian swimmer to win an Olympic medal. At the 2004 games in Athens, he had placed 16th in the 100 fly (53.12), 19th in the 100 free (49.74) and 31st in the 50 free (23.05). In Beijing, Cavic had pulled out of Wednesday's semifinal of the 100 free to concentrate on the 100 fly.
A 2002 graduate of Tustin High School, Cavic won a U.S. national title in the 100-meter fly (53.30) and helped capture the 800-meter free relay title (7:44.42) as a member of the Novaquatics Club Team at the 2002 U.S. National Spring Championships. Internationally, he was 10th in the 50 (24:03) and 100 (53.06) butterfly at the 2005 World Championships, and was the 2000 Yugoslavian champion in the 50-meter free, 100 free, 100 fly and 100 back.
Cavic now joins Cal sophomore Nathan Adrian as Bear men swimmers who have won medals in Beijing. Adrian helped pick up a gold medal for the United States after swimming in the prelims of the 4x100 freestyle relay. Cal men swimmers have won 32 Olympic medals since Ludy Langer won a silver medal in the 400 freestyle at the 1920 Olympics.