Chad le Clos feels that he is in a “good space right now”. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

DURBAN – Looking to prove a point, Chad le Clos posted the fastest time in the world in the 100m butterfly on Saturday with 51.29 seconds at the South African Swimming Championships in the King’s Park pool.

That is exactly what Le Clos did as he once again exclaimed “the king is back” as he replaced China’s Zhuhao Li at the top of the world rankings list.

Le Clos shared the 100m butterfly silver medal with Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh and American icon Michael Phelps at the Rio Olympics, with Joseph Schooling of Singapore taking the spoils in 50.39.

“I’m really happy, it feels like I am back to my old self. I’m happy with everything, it really feels good to be in a good space right now,” Le Clos said.

“Even if I go to the world championships and get two bronze medals, I know I will improve every year and I know I will get better. I can only look forward to the future, so I am excited. Bang!”

Le Clos has qualified for the FINA World Championships in Budapest in every single race he has participated in at the championships — meeting the mark in the 200m, 100m butterfly and the 100m and 200m freestyle.

The Olympic gold medallist also boasts the world lead in the 200m butterfly with the 1:55.00 he posted on Thursday evening.

Le Clos clocked the second-fastest 200m freestyle this year with his season’s best of 1:46.84, while his 100m freestyle time of 48.64 is the fourth fastest in 2017.

The 1 500m freestyle produced one of the surprises of the championships when Brent Szurdoki beat Rio Olympian Matthew Meyer in a toe-to-toe battle to qualify for the world championships.

Meyer went into the race with the hopes of clocking a new national record, but it was Szurdoki – who narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Rio Games – claiming the victory this time around in 15:11.22 to earn a place to Budapest.

Szurdoki will be returning to his roots in Hungary, where his father was born, while qualifying also represents a personal triumph after the hardships he had to endure over the last few years.

“We were off track until the last 100 metres. Throughout the race I saw we needed to go faster, I saw we were a bit off,” Szurdoki said.

“I am going to where my dad was born in Budapest, Hungary, so I am chuffed. We still have some family there, so we will have the time of our lives.”

She is just 14 years old, but Rebecca Meder was the best female swimmer at the SA championships. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix


The men’s 50m freestyle also produced one of the highlights of the final evening of the event when 19-year-old Zane Waddell finished second behind Olympic finalist Brad Tandy.

Waddell posted a third world qualifying time when he touched in a lifetime best of 22.49.

Tandy hit the wall first for his second sub-22 time of the week, clocking 21.97, with Douglas Erasmus bagging the bronze in 22.63.

Erasmus and Tandy posted the two fastest times in the 50m freestyle, and are likely to be selected ahead of Waddell.

Waddell won the 100m freestyle title earlier in the week in a B-qualifying time of 49.09, which is also the ninth best ever by a South African.

There were eight qualifiers for the world championships, with Tatjana Schoenmaker becoming the first female swimmer since 2013 to meet the mark for the global showpiece.

Fourteen-year-old Rebecca Meder was the top female swimmer, winning five individual gold medals in the 1 500m, 800m and 200m freestyle, as well as the 200m and 400m Individual Medley.

Meder also finished second in the 400m freestyle.

World Championships A-qualifiers

Men

Brad Tandy – 50m freestyle

Brent Szurdoki – 1500m freestyle

Cameron van der Burgh – 50m and 100m breaststroke

Chad le Clos – 100m and 200m freestyle, 100m and 200m freestyle

Douglas Erasmus – 50m freestyle

Myles Brown – 200m freestyle

Zane Waddell – 50m freestyle

Women

Tatjana Schoenmaker – 200m breaststroke

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