July 28th, 2012
10:17 PM ET

Is swimming's greatest rivalry now dead in the water?

A despondent Michael Phelps ponders what could have been after he came fourth in the 400m individual medley. (Getty)
A despondent Michael Phelps ponders what could have been after he came fourth in the 400m individual medley. (Getty)

Michael Phelps can claim to be the greatest swimmer of all-time for the following reasons:

– In 2008, he performed one of the greatest feats in Olympic history by winning eight gold medals from eight events in the pool
– He has set 29 individual world records, which is in itself a record
– He is the most successful swimmer in World Championships history boasting a haul of 26 gold medals
– And his success has transcended and changed his sport

And at the age of 27, the man known as the Baltimore Bullet and the Flying Fish, was primed to add clear water to any pretenders to the throne by netting a further seven golds to his burgeoning spoils of water-based combat at the London Games. The scene was set for history to once again be rewritten and to add to the spectacle Phelps would need to conquer one of the greatest rivalries in sport, on the greatest of stages, to take glory. FULL POST