Clary and Phelps trained together in 2007-2008 at the University of Michigan; Phelps was preparing to win 8 gold medals in the Olymipics, while Clary was hoping to Ohio State in his meet (or something like that).
According to The Press-Enterprise:
“Basically, he was a swimmer that didn’t want to be there,” Clary said of Phelps. “They can talk about all of these goals and plans and preparation they have. I saw it. I know. It’s different. And I saw somebody that has basically been asking to get beat for the longest time.”
“I’ve always called myself more of a blue-collar worker, as far as swimming goes,” Clary said. “I work my (butt) off all the time. That’s not to say that everybody else doesn’t. But the fact that I know I work harder than he does makes me appreciate every little goal and every little gain that I make.“And the day that it happens, when I finally beat him, is going to be a huge deal in my mind, because it would be complete satisfaction. And the only thing that would be better than that is breaking the world record.”
“The fact that he doesn’t have to work as hard to get that done, it’s a real shame,” Clary said. “I think it’s too bad. You see that all too often, where you get athletes that are incredibly talented that really take it for granted. I think the things he could have done if he’d worked as hard as I do would have been even more incredible than what he has pulled off.”
“You see it a lot in sports and it’s always the same story. Reporters come to them and they say, ‘Oh, yeah, I work so hard, I have all these goals … blah blah blah.’ You go and actually watch any of those people for just one workout, without them knowing you’re there. All it takes is one workout, and you can easily see it’s a whole difference as far as work ethic goes.”
If Tyler Clary meant any of the above as a compliment, he sure as hell went about saying it the most underhanded and bitter way possible.
One thing to note is that Clary is looking to beat Phelps head-to-head when the pair collide to swim the 200-meter butterfly in London. And I will say, while it took some balls to do it, calling out Phelps for being a slacker is a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.