Le Clos bags SA’s third medal of Swimming World Championships
GWANGJU – Chad le Clos claimed South Africa’s third medal of the Swimming World Championships on Saturday, taking bronze in the 100m butterfly to add to his 200m bronze.
The 27-year-old finished third in 51.16 seconds, behind America’s new world record holder Caeleb Dressel, who took gold by swimming the second fastest time in history (49.66), and Russian Andrei Minakov (50.83).
Le Clos managed to reach the wall just one tenth of a second ahead of Hungary’s 200m butterfly gold medallist and world record holder Kristof Milak.
“For me personally, I’m happy, not with my performances but because I medalled,” said Le Clos, who has been struggling with a groin hernia. “Considering the circumstances it’s been a great week. A few weeks ago I guess we didn’t know if we would swim or not so to come here and get the two bronzes is great.”
Later in the evening session, Zane Waddell booked a place in the final of the 50m backstroke. He finished third in his semifinal in 24.72 seconds.
“I was quicker two weeks ago at the World Student Games but I’m really stoked to make the final. I’m going in ranked fifth so it’s anyone’s race tomorrow night,” he said afterwards.
In the morning heats, Tatjana Schoenmaker fell one place short of a semifinal spot in the 50m breaststroke. Just hours after becoming South Africa’s first female medallist at a long course world championships with silver in the 200m breaststroke, the Pretoria swimmer was back in the pool for the shorter event, which is not her speciality. But her time of 31.30 was only good enough for 17th overall.
Meanwhile, Erin Gallagher was 27th fastest in the 50m freestyle in 25.48, and South Africa’s mixed 4x100m freestyle relay team of Chris Reid, Ryan Coetzee, Emma Chelius and Tayla Lovemore fell way short of reaching the final, finishing 17th overall in 3:32.89.
Sunday’s action will see Ayrton Sweeney competing in the 400m individual medley heats.
Rebecca Meder will be the only SA representative in the equivalent women’s event, while South Africa will also have teams in the 4x100m medley relays for both men and women. And Waddell will, of course, be contesting the 50m backstroke final in the evening session.