"The 100 metres favourite, it's me," Alain Bernard told journalists in Beijing. "If I didn't believe I was, I wouldn't be here at all.
"I've always said that 10 to 15 swimmers could be on the podium. But physically, I'm on top. I'm fitter than I was at the French championships, fitter than I was at the European championships."
Michael Phelps, who has already won one gold medal in record time, took care of another little matter in the 200 free, moving on to the final with the fourth-fastest time of the semis. Trying to save as much energy as possible for the leadoff leg of the relay, the American touched in 1:46.28 to finish behind teammate Peter Vanderkaay (1:45.76) and South Korea's Park Tae-hwan (1:45.99).
But most believe Phelps biggest threat from shattering the previous record for most gold medals in a single year will come from France and Alain Bernard.
Bermard was currently the +115 favorite to win gold at the 100M Freestyle Men's Swimming on Tuesday.
Bernard claimed on Thursday that the French relay squad would "smash" the Americans.
"The Americans? We're going to smash them. That's what we came here for," Bernard said.
"I'll start my Games in the 4x100 metres freestyle relay final, confident that my pals will have qualified easily.
"If the relay goes according to plans, than we'll be on a roll."
Phelps, meanwhile was an unprecedented -5000 odds favorite to win Monday's swim event.
TO WIN GOLD MEDAL - 100M FREESTYLE - MEN These bets can be placed prior to Tuesday at Bookmaker.com accepts US dollars, Euros, Pounds and many other currencies.
65100 ALAIN BERNARD +115
65101 EAMON SULLIVAN +125 - -
65102 JASON LEZAK +150 - -
65103 GARRETT WEBER-GALE +250 - -
65104 NATHAN ADRIAN +500 - -
65105 FILIPPO MAGNINI +750 - -
65106 STEFAN NYSTRAND +1000 - -
65107 PIETER VAN DEN HOOGENBAND +1250 - -
65108 ROLAND SCHOEMAN +1500 - -
65109 FABIAN GILOT +1750 - -
65110 DUJE DRAGANJA +2000 - -
65111 CESAR CIELO +2500 - -
65112 FIELD - ANY SWIMMER NOT LISTED ABOVE +500