Chad Le Clos produced his trademark kick on the final lap to exact revenge on American Tom Shields and clinch the 200m butterfly gold at the World Cup in Doha on Wednesday night.
But Le Clos was far more dominant in the 50m ’fly at the end of the evening‚ notching up a bigger margin of victory in the two-lap sprint — winning by 0.3sec compared to the 0.27sec gap in the endurance event.
Shields‚ who had beaten Le Clos in their previous 200m showdown at the Hong Kong leg of the World Cup at the weekend‚ had built up a narrow lead over the first half‚ and then stretched it even further over the third quarter.
Even on the final 25m lap‚ the South African looked to have blown his chance after he surfaced before the American — swimmers go faster under water — but he had the spare fuel to outswim his rival to the wall in 1min 49.59sec.
“I’m very happy‚” said Le Clos‚ who raced unshaved. “Tom and I are buddies and he won the last one so we’re one-all at the moment.”
In the 50m Le Clos pushed his unbeaten record to 26‚ in short-course racing‚ as he won in 22.45 ahead of Zhang Qibin of China with Shields third in 23.04. Fellow South African Doug Erasmus was sixth.
Le Clos leads the overall World Cup standings in the men’s race‚ with three galas remaining.
Cameron van der Burgh won the 50m breaststroke from start to finish‚ clocking 25.70sec to edge Russian Kirill Prigoda (25.85) and ilya Shymanovich of Belarus (26.24).
“I’m pretty stoked‚” said the South African‚ who won this event in Hong Kong.
“I’m really happy with the progress and the time change and the travel. Looking forward to the 100m breaststroke tomorrow.”
In other action involving South Africans‚ 2016 Olympian Doug Erasmus ended fifth in the men’s 100m freestyle‚ just ahead of 2012 Olympian Leith Shankland.
Paige Brombacher‚ Henre Louw and Ayrton Sweeney were sixth in their respective individual finals‚ in the women’s 100m breaststroke‚ men’s 400m freestyle and men’s 200m breaststroke.
Jeanri Buys and Kristen Straszacker were eighth in the women’s 100m butterfly and women’s 200m backstroke.
The gala ends on Wednesday.
By: David Isaacson – TimesLIVE
Source: TMG Digital.