CANET-EN-ROUSSILLON, France – Crowned the top male swimmer of the three-leg Mare Nostrum series, Cameron van der Burgh finished an unbeaten run in the 50m breaststroke in Canet-en-Roussillon, France, on Sunday.
Meanwhile, after missing the first two galas in the European series, Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos made a cameo in the Southern French town.
Van der Burgh raced to victory in the sprint event, touching the wall in a time of 27.07 seconds. The South African touched ahead of Brazilian Filipe Lima in second place, with 27.26 and the third-placed Yasuhiro Kaseki of Japan with 27.58.
Racing to his third consecutive victory in the 50m breaststroke, Van der Burgh clinched the overall men’s series champion. He also boasts the third fastest time of this season, with the 26.96 he posted at the Barcelona leg of the series.
He was slightly off the pace in the 100m breaststroke at all three events and scratched from the B-race in Canet.
Dipping his toe in the water for the first time in the series, Le Clos had to be content with two bronze medals in the 100m and 200m butterfly.
Le Clos lined up against fellow Rio Olympic 100m butterfly silver medallist Laszlo Cseh and 200m butterfly third-place finisher Tamas Kenderesi of Hungary.
The 200m butterfly belonged to the Hungarians with Kenderesi hitting the wall first in a time of one minute, 54.98 seconds (1:54.98), while compatriot Cseh bagged the silver in 1:56.39.
Le Clos held the lead after the first 100m but lost ground to touch third in a time of 1:56.64.
The South African again had to be satisfied with the bronze medal with France’s Mehdi Metella taking the spoils in a time of 51.63. Cseh hit the wall in second place with a time of 51.87, with Le Clos racing home in 51.92. Le Clos still holds the world-leading time of 51.29 in the 100m butterfly and fifth fastest 200m butterfly time of 1:55.00 from the South African Aquatics Championships from April.
Elsewhere, freestyle ace Myles Brown was the only other top South African performer during the series, earning podium places in the 200m freestyle at the opening leg in Monaco and Canet.
Brown finished second in Monaco with in a time of 1:48.31 before earning silver in Barcelona clocking 1:48.07.
The series is a collection of three meets along the coast of the Mediterranean in France, Monaco and Spain.