Sates, Le Clos ‘over the moon’ with gold at FINA World Cup

Matthew Sates and Chad le Clos opened the 2022 FINA Swimming World Cup in Berlin by racing to gold medals. A return to winning ways was top of mind... Read more
Sates, Le Clos 'over the moon' with gold at FINA World Cup

Matthew Sates and Chad le Clos opened the 2022 FINA Swimming World Cup in Berlin by racing to gold medals.

A return to winning ways was top of mind for the South African duo when they took to the 25-metre pool in Germany’s capital, the host of the first of three meets the second and final legs to be held in Canada and the USA.

Le Clos returned from his struggles at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo to produce a 48.58 in the 100m butterly. The tenth-fastest swim of all-time and his personal best in nearly two years, Le Clos was just off the FINA Swimming World Cup record of 48.48 set by Evgenii Korotyshkin in 2009.

The South African won with relative ease over the likes of Olympic bronze medalist Noe Ponti (49.38) of Switzerland.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” Le Clos told Fina.org. “I couldn’t have asked for a better start. It was very important for me to get the win tonight. The time wasn’t important; I couldn’t really care about the time. I just wanted to win, bad. I’ve taken a lot of losses lately and I’m done with that now.”

Sates dived in to defend his title as “FINA Swimming World Cup Overall Series defending champion” the overall World Cup winner in 2021, he arrived in Berlin to race against the expectation created by setting world junior records last year.

However, the South African had struggled to regain that form in 2022, underachieving at the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

But, Sates put those disappointments behind him in Berlin, setting an African record with a personal best 3:36.30 in the 400m freestyle, moving up to 13th all-time.

“This is my favourite pool in the world,” Sates said. “This race means a lot to me.

“Coming in as 2021 overall Swimming World Cup champ and winning my first race of the 2022 short-course season, I was pretty nervous coming into this, knowing that this race would be the determining factor. I went faster than last year. A year ago I was splitting a 3:40, 3:39 and now I’m on a 3:36 so… I’m happy with that, for sure.”

 

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