While competing on day two of the 2023 South African National Championships, Olympian Chad Le Clos fired off a time of 1:56.05 to take the men’s 200m butterfly.
The self-proclaimed ‘Chad 2.0’ opened in 56.27 and closed in 59.78 to put up a gold medal-worthy swim, beating out runners-up Ethan Du Preez and Brandon Chapman. Du Preez clocked 1:57.09 for silver while Chapman rounded out the top 3 in 2:02.38.
Le Clos now ranks 15th in the world on the season.
Le Clos’ 1:56.05 time is actually slower than what he produced at this same meet last year, which was a result of 1:55.75. That qualified him for the 2022 World Championships but the now-31-year-old wound up dropping the event in Budapest.
Nevertheless, Le Clos’ outing here was enough to dip under the World Aquatics ‘A’ standard of 1:56.71 needed to qualify for this year’s edition of the World Championships set for Fukuoka, Japan in July.
On his performance, Le Clos said post-race, “I thought I would be a bit faster to be fair, but I always get nervous for Nationals for some reason – it scares me every time I race here.
“I was just trying to go with Ethan and try and be as flowy as possible. Obviously I got tired in the last 10 metres but my head was down. I’m sad that he didn’t get the [A qualifying] time as well.
“I was confident I was going to qualify tonight but I just wanted to swim it my way and control the race, not let my emotions control me like I was in the past.”
Le Clos is the national record holder, owning a 200m fly best time of 1:52.96 when he took gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in the race where he famously beat American Olympic icon Michael Phelps.
More recently, at the 2020 Olympic Games Le Clos placed 5th in a time of 1:54.93.
He’s been on a tear as of late, however, taking 2fly silver at the Commonwealth Games, as well as putting up some of the best times of his career over the course of the 2022 World Cup. Le Clos ended the year by becoming 100m fly and 200m fly world champion at the Short Course World Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
Source : Swim Swam