Chad le Clos will begin the hunt for a fifth Fina World Cup title when this year's series gets underway on Friday. EPA/DARREN ENGLAND

JOHANNESBURG - Chad le Clos made a good start to his FINA Swimming World Cup in Kazan, Russia, but it was by no means plain sailing for the South African at the three-day gala. He completed the opening leg of the annual series winning the 200m butterfly gold medal, while he had to settle for the silver medals in the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle.

Le Clos won the 200m freestyle silver medal yesterday, finishing behind American Blake Pieroni, who won in 1:47.32. Pieroni opened a sizeable gap over a chasing Le Clos with the South African reeling him in but to no avail.  Le Clos hit the wall in second place with a time of 1:48.10, with Kyle Stolk of The Netherlands finishing third in 1:49.67.

The London 2012 Olympic champion claimed a narrow 200m victory after chasing Russian Daniil Pakhomov down to out-touch him clocking 1:56.58. Pakhomov led from the start held the advantage at the final turn before Le Clos produced a strong surge to claim the victory.

The Russian finished in second place, clocking 1:56.90 with David Verraszto of Hungary bagging bronze in 1:59.03. Le Clos bounced back from a defeat to American Michael Andrew in the 100m butterfly on the first day on Friday.  Andrew beat the South African by a hair’s breadth, hitting the wall in a time of 51.96. 

Le Clos shared the silver medal with Russian Egor Kuimov with both clocking 52 seconds. Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Ryan Coetzee may not have earned a podium at his maiden Swimming World Cup but still managed to make it into four finals and clocking personal best times. 

He finished fifth in the 100m freestyle on Saturday, seventh in the 50m freestyle, fifth place in the 50m butterfly and fourth in the 100m butterfly.

The Star

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