JOHANNESBURG - The wheels would have to come off completely for Chad le Clos to let the overall men's Fina World Cup title slip out off his hands after a successful night on the opening day of the Tokyo leg on Tuesday.
Le Clos extended his lead in the series by winning the 50m butterfly and finishing second in the 100m freestyle in Tokyo.
The South African sensation raced to victory in the sprint event in a time of 22.49 seconds, with Belarusian Pavel Sankovich finishing behind him in 22.81sec. Andrii Govorov of the Ukraine bagged the bronze medal in 22.96.
“I was nervous a bit for the 50 fly because it was the 27th consecutive win in that event at the World Cup, and no one’s done that before,” Le Clos told the Fina website.
“In fact, it’s 30 races unbeaten with the world champs (included). It’s going to be close with Vladimir (Morozov) but hopefully, and I don’t really want to say it, something would have to go really wrong for me to lose the overall title.”
In the 100 freestyle, Le Clos played second fiddle to Russian Morozov, who is the second man in the series rankings behind the South African.
Morozov touched the wall first in a time of 45.65sec with Le Clos following in 46.06 and Katsumi Nakamuraswam of Japan rounding out the podium in 46.54.
The South African swimming sensation is on the cusp of becoming the first men's swimmer to win four overall World Cup titles after winning the first two clusters (groups of three meetings) of the series.