South African star Chad Le Clos recovered his winning form on the second day of the Aquatic Super Series in Perth on Saturday.
Less than six months out from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where he will be expected to be a major force, the Olympic gold medallist shrugged off his moderate efforts on the first day to win the men’s 100m butterfly.
With AUD$500,000 ($437,000) in prizemoney up for grabs in the five-nation event over the two nights, Le Clos was disappointing in three swims on Friday, reports AFP.
The South African burst to prominence in London in 2012, winning the 200m butterfly by upsetting American superstar Michael Phelps, and winning silver in the 100m butterfly.
However, the 2013 world champion finished second to Japanese teenager Daiya Seto in the 200m butterfly on Friday, and was also unplaced in the 200m individual medley and 50m butterfly.
Le Clos, 21, had to come from behind in the 100m butterfly, with Australian Daniel Lester setting the early pace.
However, he appeared to win with something in reserve, having a sustained look across at his rivals as he neared the wall, touching in a time of 52.66 to just beat fast-finishing Australian Christopher Wright by 0.12sec, with a fading Lester back in third in 53.05.
The South African also placed third in the men’s 400m individual medley after China’s Wang Shun, who initially appeared to have pipped Le Clos to the finish line, was disqualified.
Le Clos was happy to be on the board and admitted his form had been below what he hoped. “It’s been a tough couple of days for me,” he said. “It was good to get a win on the board.”
While it was an event of mixed fortunes for Le Clos, rising star Kosuke Hagino notched his second and third wins of what was an impressive meet for the Japanese men.
Having won the 200m individual medley in a quick time on Friday, he backed it up by claiming the 200m freestyle in a time of 1:46.35, beating Australian Cameron McEvoy by 0.33sec. Hagino then took out the men’s 400m individual medley from countryman Seto, with Le Clos missing a place.