GOLD COAST, Australia – SA’s Chad le Clos will swim in two finals on Friday at the Commonwealth Games.
First up is the 50m butterfly, and then the 200m freestyle – although he still has the small matter of qualifying for that final in the earlier morning session.
Le Clos will have benefited from the disqualification of England’s 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Ben Proud, in the morning’s 50m butterfly heats on Thursday.
Proud controlled the heat to beat Le Clos to the wall, the South African comfortably second best in 23.94 seconds – before the screens at the open-air aquatic complex showed a big ‘DQ’ next to his name.
“It’s never a nice thing to see,” Le Clos said of his rival’s misfortune.
Once the sun had set and conditions were different, Le Clos came back for the evening semi-final, where he stood next to countryman Ryan Coetzee.
Coetzee reacted quicker off the blocks, but Le Clos quickly got ahead and it stayed like that to the wall, the pair touching in 23.94 and 23.79 respectively, which for Coetzee was 0.15 quicker than his morning heat and a personal best.
“It’s something like five years since I got that previous PB,” said the 22-year-old Coetzee.
“Standing on the blocks next to Chad and being in the lane next to him helped me relax a lot,” Coetzee said, after his time had placed him joint second fastest going into the final.
“I preferred swimming this morning, with the sun on my back… I prefer those conditions to the night time, but I was relaxed. Hopefully I can continue improving and win a medal, why not?”
Elsewhere on the first evening of swimming finals – which saw the first world record of the Games produced when Australia’s 4x100m freestyle women came home to the roar of the patriotic home crowd – South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker booked her place in the final of the women’s 50m breaststroke, although her evening swim was a little off her African record of 30.92 set in the morning.
African News Agency (ANA)