Le Clos meets Pope, and swims fast

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS

WITH FOUR weeks to go be­fore the FINA World Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest, Chad le Clos is mak­ing good progress ahead of the global swim­ming show­piece.

Meet­ing Pope Francis at the Vat­i­can City, the Olympic gold medal­list will hope his hard work and some di­vine in­ter­ven­tion will see him re­claim his 200m but­ter­fly ti­tle.

Le Clos was the only South African swim­mer in ac­tion at the week­end’s Sette Colli Gala where he won the 100m but­ter­fly and fin­ished sec­ond in the 200m event.

The South African swim­ming sen­sa­tion touched the wall first in the 100m but­ter­fly in a time of 51.65 sec­onds.

He was fol­lowed by Ital­ian duo Piero Co­dia and Mat­teo Ri­volta, sec­ond and third in 51.93 and 52.30 re­spec­tively.

Buoyed by the world-lead­ing time of 51.29 he posted at the South African Cham­pi­onships in April in Dur­ban, Le Clos will be con­fi­dent of suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing his 100m but­ter­fly in Bu­dapest.

Le Clos went toe-to-toe with 200m but­ter­fly favourite Ta­mas Ken­deresi of Hun­gary in Rome over the week­end.

Ken­deresi, who fin­ished ahead of Le Clos in the 200m but­ter­fly at the Rio Olympic Games for the bronze medal, nar­rowly beat the South African in the Ital­ian cap­i­tal.

Le Clos will take con­fi­dence from his per­for­mance in the 200m but­ter­fly as he dipped be­low 1:55 for the first time this sea­son.

He took the race out fast, turn­ing first in 53.86 af­ter the first 100m with Ken­deresi fol­low­ing behind him in 55.26.

The Hun­gar­ian pipped Le Clos over the fi­nal lap, touch­ing first in a sea­son’s best 1:54.33.

Post­ing his fastest time this sea­son Le Clos raced home in 1:54.87 beat­ing Ja­pan’s Daiya Seto (1:56.05), who boasts the sec­ond fastest time in the world this year.

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