By Mark Etheridge
Chad le Clos set the small South African team up for another medal chance on Saturday as he successfully qualified for the 100-metre butterfly final in Kazan, Russia on Friday.
Going into the first of two semi-finals as eight fastest qualifier (and fourth fastest in his heat with a 51.83sec effort) he shifted him up a gear to clock 51.11.
That put him third fastest overall place into the finals, behind USA’s Tom Shields and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, who were fastest with the same time of 51.03.
South Africa are still lying 12th on the medals table with their one gold and three silver medals (courtesy of Chad Ho’s gold in the 5km open water swim, Cameron van der Burgh’s two breaststroke silvers in the 50/100m events and Le Clos’ silver in the 200m breast).
‘I am really happy with tonight’s swim, the time is close to my personal best and I am feeling a lot more confident now then I was this morning,’ Le Clos told Swimming South Africa’s website.
‘It is going to be a very hard race tomorrow with Tom and Laszlo being the fastest qualifiers. It’s going to be a dog fight like it was in the 200m but this time it is only half the distance so there is no leaving it too late. I am just going to be out there with them, try turn with them and bring it home for South Africa.
‘I am excited and hope that the country is excited as this is one of the most important races for me to win for the country. I will try my best to win the gold medal and no matter what happens, I will give 100%, so if I win, lose or draw, I will always fight to the end.’
‘I would also like to thank South Africa for the continued support.’ concluded the Olympian.
The final of the 100m butterfly will be held on Saturday evening at 5.13pm and will be shown live on Supersport 6. Expect SA sports fans to hopefully switch away from the SA v Argentina rugby match for at least less than a minute to support the 2012 Olympic double medallist.