Phelps Takes Silver in 100m Butterfly, His Last Individual Race in Rio

Three other Americans won gold Friday: Katie Ledecky (800m free), Maya DiRado (200m backstroke), Anthony Ervin (50m free)

Michael Phelps has finally been beaten in a Rio final.

Going for a 23rd Olympic gold medal, the legendary American swimmer got off to a slow start in the 100-meter butterfly Friday and only managed a tie for silver.

Singaporean Joseph Schooling won the race, which may not come as a surprise — he beat Phelps two months ago in the event and his 50.83 in the Olympic semifinals was the fastest time this year. Phelps' occasional rival Chad le Clos, of South Africa, and Laszlo Cseh, of Hungary, also took silver in a three-way tie.

The 100-meter butterfly was expected to be the last individual race of Phelps' illustrious Olympic career, though he said he's focused on his next race in Rio, the butterfly leg of the 400 medley relay on the final night of swimming, Saturday.

"Obviously I always want to be faster and I always want to be on the top of the medal podium," Phelps said. "It's OK."

Phelps holds the world and Olympic (Beijing) records in the 100-meter butterfly finals and qualified in the semifinals Thursday night after winning the 200 individual medley final for a fourth consecutive Olympics and his fourth gold of 2016. But he was slow off the starting block and at the back of the pack at the turn. 

Phelps fought back in the final stretch, but couldn't reel in Schooling, whom Phelps congratulated in an interview on NBC. It's his 27th total Olympic medal.

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Katie Ledecky, the most dominant American swimmer besides Phelps, did take gold in her event Friday. She won the 800 freestyle by what looked like a nautical mile, completing the first sweep of the 200, 400 and 800 freestyles in nearly half a century.

The night's superstar lineup included Katinka Hosszu of Hungary going in the 200 backstroke, but she couldn't hold off Maya DiRado of the United States, who came back in the final lap to eke out a victory over Hosszu.

DiRado looked stunned in the pool when she looked up and saw she'd won. "I can't believe that just happened," DiRado said in an interview afterward, laughing with joy. "It was just a matter of convincing myself, and I did it."

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Maya Dirado of the USA wins Gold in the Women's 200m Backstroke Final on Day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Aug. 12, 2016, in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.

Hosszu qualified fastest Thursday and has already has won the 100 backstroke, along with the 200 and 400 individual medleys.

American Anthony Ervin shot to gold in the 50 freestyle, beating France's Florent Manaudou by one hundredth of a second. His teammate Nathan Adrian took bronze.

"I was feeling the overwhelming support of all my people," Ervin said.

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Anthony Ervin of the United States celebrates winning gold in the Men's 50m Freestyle Final on Day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Aug. 12, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He has won the event before — 16 years ago, at the Sydney Games. Ervin, 35, becomes the oldest gold medalist in swimming.

In Friday's preliminary heats, Abbey Weitzeil and Simone Manuel both advanced to the semi-finals in the 50 meter freestyle. But only Manuel, who jointly won gold in the 100-meter freestyle with a Canadian swimmer, progressed to the finals on Saturday.

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