South Africa’s champion swimmer Chad le Clos kept his Olympic dream alive today as he qualified in the Men’s 200m Freestyle with a new personal best and finished in third place overall.
Reporting for SASCOC today, Gary Lemke said: “Chad le Clos stuck his hand up as a potential medallist when he powered his way to a new personal best 1min 45.89sec. “
All eyes are on Le Clos whose performance at the last Olympics in London thrilled spectators around the world… especially when his father expressed his joy (which he excitedly called “unbelievable”) at his son’s win during a British TV interview.
Just a week ago (31 July) Le Clos’ dad, Bert, tweeted: “4 years ago today my boy @chadleclos made me the proudest father by winning @Olympics Gold – journey has been #UNBELIEVABLE #RoadToRio.”
Le Clos, who recently opened up in a video – ‘Unbelievable’ – about the battle with cancer both his mother and father have been going through, has been reunited with his family for the first time in months in Rio. Le Clos left South Africa three months ago – along with other members of the SA team – to train overseas, particularly in Doha, Qatar, where they were doing high altitude training to thicken their blood.
— Chad Le Clos (@chadleclos) August 4, 2016
Le Clos said it’s “just the most amazing feeling” to have his family in Rio with him.
His previous Personal Best had been 1:46.10 at the 2015 World Championships. The national record is the 1:45.67 set by Jean Basson at the 2009 World Championships.
Reporting from Rio, Lemke said: “Le Clos got off to a blazing start and reacted fastest off the blocks (0.66) and reached 50m under world record pace.
“Stretching out to a body length clear the South African looked comfortable as he led at halfway (50.66), maintained a good lead at 150m (1:18.34) before being chased down by Yang Sun heading into the wall. The Chinese swimmer impressed with a 26.40 last 50m to win ahead of Le Clos who had already done all the hard work and could turn off the engines.”
Myles Brown – who broke the SA 400m freestyle record on Saturday (although he missed out on a place in the 400m final by 0.49 seconds) – sat in Le Clos’ slipstream in the lane outside him for much of the race before finishing fifth in q:46.78 (13th overall) and booking a place in the evening’s semi-finals.
The semi-finals will take place after 3am South African time tonight.
Other South African News from Day Two of the Rio Olympics
Strong winds at the Lagoa stadium led to the cancellation of the rowing events on Sunday.
In progress: Women’s Road Race: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and An-Li Kachelhoffer
Update: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio came home 10th in the women’s Cycling road race. Gutsy effort and so proud of her!
7pm (12 midnight SA time): Men’s Group A: South Africa vs Denmark
Gary Lemke says: After their 0-0 draw with favourites Brazil, the SA Under-23s will fancy their chances against Denmark. All four teams have one point after their opening match and should South Africa win, or even draw, they will take on Iraq in their final group match full of expectation to qualify for the knockout stages.
2.25pm (7.25pm): Men’s 100m Backstroke (Heat 4): Christopher Reid
10.11pm and 10.20pm (3.11am and 3.20am): Men’s 200m Freestyle, semi-finals: Potentially Chad le Clos and Myles Brown
10.53pm (3.53am): Men’s 100m breaststroke final: Cameron van der Burgh. He is the 12-1 second favourite, behind Great Britain’s world record holder Adam Peaty
11.12am and 11.20pm (4.12am and 4.20pm): Potentially Christopher Reid
Gary Lemke says: Cameron van der Burgh is yet to dip under 59 seconds after two swims but he improved his morning qualifier to 59.21 in the semi-finals. However, he looks well held on time and form by Britain’s Adam Peaty, who lowered his own world record to 57.55 in the heats, before timing 57.62 in the semis. The defending champion Van der Burgh won’t give up his status without a fight, but might have to settle for silver, in what looks tight between places second and fourth.