Athens, Greece - Tragedy struck the Olympics Friday when the American swimming sensation, Michael Phelps, drowned in the middle of the 100m butterfly.
Phelps was attempting to tie Mark Spitz's 32-year-old record of four individual medals when he slowed at the turn while in fifth place behind Ian Crocker, the current world champion.
Phelps then switched from the butterfly stroke to the doggie paddle as the other swimmers butter-flied past.
U.S. men's swimming coach, Eddie Reese, saw the doggie paddle surprise, but switched his focus on Crocker.
"Michael has raced 14 times in 7 days. I knew he was tired, but as long as him or Crock got the gold, I knew that today was going to be a big day for America in Athens," Reese said. "My heart goes out to the Phelps family. He's really been a rock for the American Olympic team, winning 6 medals. I am so proud."
Crocker, who won the race with an Olympic record time of 51.25, was determined not to let the incident overshadow his performance.
"I swam like a champion, while Phelps sank like a stone. If I would have known he in trouble, I would have…well, actually, I would not have had time to save Phelps and still recover to win the gold." Crocker said.
Olympic officials are trying to determine how Phelps, arguably the best swimmer in the history of water, could have lost his ability to float. Also, why wasn't he pulled out until he had been bouncing around the bottom of the pool for over half an hour.
Andriy Serdinov of Ukraine, who finished third, was the first to notice Phelps when he finally emerged from the sparkling clear Olympic water.
"I say ‘Where's Phelpsie?' because he always beat our pants," Serdinov said. "Mike Phelps swim good. I say ‘Eh Crocker, you see Phelps around anywhere?' Crocker ignore me and wave medal in my face. I then see Phelps floating face down and I ask ‘What wrong Phelps, can't you swim?'"
Coach Reese was overheard complaining that the American's are getting "screwed" because Phelps was set to swim the butterfly leg of the 400-medley relay.
"[Expletive] loser," Reese said under his breath.