Le Clos, Sjostrom take crowns

Above: Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom on her way to winning the 200m freestyle in 1min 51.63sec at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday. She also won the 50m butterfly. Left: Sjostrom and Chad le Clos with their cheques after lifting the women's and men's over
Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom on her way to winning the 200m freestyle in 1min 51.63sec at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday. She also won the 50m butterfly.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Above: Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom on her way to winning the 200m freestyle in 1min 51.63sec at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday. She also won the 50m butterfly. Left: Sjostrom and Chad le Clos with their cheques after lifting the women's and men's over
Sjostrom and Chad le Clos with their cheques after lifting the women's and men's overall titles in the eight-leg World Cup series.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

South African wins record fourth overall title as his focus shifts to the Gold Coast

As expected, Chad le Clos and Sarah Sjostrom were respectively crowned the men's and women's overall winners of the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017 after the final leg in Singapore at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday.

The outcome was decided even before the finals in the evening, although both swimmers finished on a high, with le Clos winning the 100m butterfly (49.49sec) and Sjostrom the 50m fly (24.61) and 200m freestyle (1min 51.63sec).

For their efforts over the eight-leg short-course series, they were each presented with cheques of US$150,000 (S$203,500).

As the top-performing female swimmer for the cluster legs of Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore, Sjostrom, 24, won an additional $50,000.

Russia's Vladimir Morozov, who finished second in the overall standings behind le Clos, was the men's cluster champion. Morozov's compatriot Kirill Prigoda was third.

For the women, Hungary's triple Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu was second, followed by the Netherlands' Ranomi Kromowidjojo.

Le Clos was delighted with winning his first World Cup title since 2014 and will now turn his attention to next year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia.

"The money's great of course but also this series was about getting some hard racing in with the best, like today with Vlad (Morozov in the 100m freestyle, which the Russian won)," said the 25-year-old South African, the first male to win the overall title four times.

"Now I'm excited for the Commonwealth Games. I leave at midnight tonight so tomorrow afternoon, I'll be in the gym, do an easy swim session and definitely get some physiotherapy."

Sjostrom, who was competing in the World Cup for the first time, said she would like to return to defend her title next year.

"I'm very excited to do the World Cup more times. It's very good training for me to race at the highest level of competition against Ranomi and (Australia's) Cate Campbell," said the 1.82m Swede.

With victory assured before their first races, le Clos and Sjostrom decided to have a bit of fun, switching swim caps for their respective 100m fly and 50m fly events. A grinning le Clos also took the microphone from the event emcee to announce Sjostrom's name as she emerged for the 50m fly.

"We are very close friends and we're very excited to win the World Cup together. It's always extra fun when you win something with your friend," said reigning Olympic 100m fly champion Sjostrom, who trains with le Clos in Turkey.

Singapore's SEA Games champion Roanne Ho clocked 30.49sec to finish fourth in the women's 50m breaststroke and rewrite the national short-course record.

The 24-year-old missed out on a podium finish by 0.17sec behind third-placed Rikke Pedersen of Denmark.

"I'm a little bit disappointed that I didn't get a medal but I'm pretty happy with my time today," said Ho, who went under 31sec in the short-course format for the first time. "My long-course (record) is 31.29sec and my short-course should be faster so it's nice to get it under 31sec."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2017, with the headline 'Le Clos, Sjostrom take crowns'. Print Edition | Subscribe