Le Clos earns bragging rights over Dressel

South Africa's Chad le Clos splashing his way to victory in the 100m butterfly at the short-course World Swimming Championships yesterday.
South Africa's Chad le Clos splashing his way to victory in the 100m butterfly at the short-course World Swimming Championships yesterday.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

HANGZHOU (China) • Chad le Clos could not hide his excitement after seeing off American Caeleb Dressel to win the 100m butterfly at the short-course World Swimming Championships yesterday.

In one of the most eagerly anticipated match-ups so far in Hangzhou, the South African star romped to victory in 48.50sec.

He was well short of the 48.08sec world record he set at the last short-course showpiece in 2016, but he was still 0.21sec ahead of Dressel, who at age 22 has drawn comparisons with US swim legend Michael Phelps.

"It was the biggest race of my short-course career," said le Clos, who won his fourth 100m butterfly short-course world title.

"I was up against the best field by far... I was anxious because I was waiting for this the whole week. I really wanted to race Dressel."

China's Li Zhuhao finished third in 49.25sec.

In the men's 200m breaststroke, Russia's Kirill Prigoda blitzed his way to a world-record time of 2:00.16, beating China's Qin Haiyang (2:01.15).

His rapid race was significantly quicker than the previous leading time of 2:00.44 set by Germany's Marco Koch two years ago.

Koch finished third in 2:01.42.

The American mixed 4x50m medley relay team also broke a world record yesterday with a time of 1:36.40, ahead of the Netherlands (1:37.05) and Russia (1:37.33). They improved on their own record in Glasgow in 2013 when they finished in 1:37.17.

Meanwhile, Fina announced a new swimming event format that will make its debut next year.

The Fina Champions Swim Series will be a three-leg competition to be held between March and May.

It will comprise events of 50m, 100m and 200m in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, as well as the 400m free, 200m individual medley and four relay races.

The programme for events will include only finals, where the best four swimmers (the Olympic and world champions, the world-record holder and the best in the world ranking) in each event will compete in individual races.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2018, with the headline 'Le Clos earns bragging rights over Dressel'. Print Edition | Subscribe