By Mark Etheridge
Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos grabbed South Africa’s second gold medal of the FINA World Championships in Russia on Saturday as he defended his world title in the 100-metre butterfly.
After what have been some perhaps indifferent swims from the KwaZulu-Natal swimmer at these championships, Le Clos put his hand up when it counted to win in 50.56sec, half a second inside his previous best for the distance.
After American Joseph Schooling had gone out hard to make all the early running it was Le Clos who lurked in second, just 0.19sec behind at the turn as Schooling headed for home after a 23.53 first length.
Roared on by a blue-shirted father Bert in the stands, Le Clos focused on the golden finish with very little looking around him as he has been perhaps ‘guilty’ of doing lately.
He came through strongly to touch 0.31sec clear of 200m champion Laszlo Cseh of Hungary and thumped his chest in celebration… it was also an African record. Schooling ended third for bronze in 50.96.
South Africa now have five medals at the championships, equalling their haul from the last championships in Barcelona, Spain two years ago.