Le Clos Clinches World’s #1 100 Fly Time, Tandy Rocks Another Sub-22


While competing on the final day of the 2017 South African National Championships, Chad Le Clos topped off his statement-making meet with a blazing fast time of 51.29 in the men’s 100m butterfly final. That knocked just under .3 of a second off of his semi outing of 51.56 and frog-hopped China’s Li Zhuhao to become the #1 time in the world this season.

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Le Clos’ final time now sits as the fastest he’s ever raced in his home nation of South Africa and sits just .15 off of the 51.14 he clocked in Rio, a time which wound up giving him a share of the silver with American Michael Phelps and Hungarian Laszlo Cseh. Splits for Le Clos on tonight included a smoothly controlled 24.00/27.29.

Le Clos had already scored Budapest qualifying marks across 3 other individual events, rattling the world rankings in each, proving his new training environment is doing his body good. Although he recently called himself ‘the underdog’ for his races come Budapest, his ranking among the world wouldn’t warrant that label on the 24-year-old quite yet.

100m freestyle (lead-off on relay) – 48.64, 5th in the world
200m freestyle – 1:46.84, 3rd in the world
200m butterfly – 1:55.00, 2nd in the world
100m butterfly – 51.29, 1st in the world

Even with Le Clos’ monster swim, he wasn’t the only South African to set fire to Kings Park Pool tonight. Speedster Brad Tandy took advantage of clear water in his final, earning his 2nd sub-22-second 50m freestyle mark of the meet. After registering a swift 21.99 in semi-finals, Tandy rocked an even faster 21.97 to become the fastest textile swimmer ever at that venue. His ‘Tandy Time’ result is positioned as 4th fastest in the world and it’s worth noting that King’s Park Pool does not have block fins. It’s hard to definitively say how much time Tandy (and any other racer, for that matter) could have shaved off their sprint races, but that fact sheds additional light onto what Tandy threw down tonight.

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After his race, the 25-year-old former Arizona Wildcat told SwimSwam he was ‘pretty happy’ with his swim, but believes it can be even better with the block fin, which will be available in Budapest. “I’m looking forward to swimming in a nice class pool with some good competition, I think it will be interesting.”

Of note, Zane Waddell earned 2nd place behind Tandy, touching in 22.41 and slide under the 22.47 qualifying mark for Budapest. However, 26-year-old Doug Erasmus had already notched a qualifying mark in semi-finals, collecting 22.39, a slightly faster time than Waddell’s final. South African selection criteria states, “the first and second place finishers in Olympic events will be considered for selection, as long as they achieve a FINA ‘A’ cut in the event.” As such, it seems Waddell would get the nod, but we’ll have to wait on the final South African swimming federation roster to know definitively.

The other Budapest qualifier on the night was 20-year-old Brent Szurdokiwho snagged the men’s 1500m freestyle gold from race rival and 400m freestyle gold medalist Matthew Meyer. Szurdoki scorched a 57.42 final 100m freestyle to hold off Meyer and earn gold in a final time of 15:11.22, a time inside the qualification mark of 15:12.79. Meyer settled for silver in 15:13.11, just about a half second off of qualifying.

Additional Winners on the Day:

  • 18-year-old Erin Gallagher took the women’s 100m freestyle, winning in a time of 56.28. She had previously notched the top seed in semi’s in a faster 55.85. Gallagher scored a 2nd win in the session, topping the podium in the 50m butterfly with her mark of 27.35.
  • Daniel Swanepoel was the men’s 200m breaststroke victor, stopping the clock in a mark of 2:15.83, well off the needed 2:11.11 World Championships qualification time.
  • Yesterday, Tatjana Schoenmaker became the first South African female to earn an elite international meet roster spot since 2013, winning the 200m breaststroke semi-final in a QT of 2:25.23. She wound up adding just under a second to that mark in tonight’s finals, ultimately taking the gold in 2:26.20.
  • Martin Binedell was the men’s 200m backstroke winner, touching in 1:59.69 to represent the only swimmer sub-2-minutes.
  • 14-year-old Rebecca Meder fired off a monster 4:48.49 400m IM for the gold, hacking almost 5 seconds off of her prelims time. That mark rests just over 5 seconds off of the FINA A cut, which shows extreme promise for this young Western Cape Aquatics athlete.
  • Ayrton Sweeney completed the IM sweep, doubling up on his earlier 200m IM victory with the win the 400m distance. Sweeney finished in 4:20.41, over 9 seconds ahead of the next fastest competitor.

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6 years ago

Picture for this article basically sums up Le Clos

6 years ago

You can’t have three swimmers in one event

Winnie Pearl
Reply to  Hill
6 years ago

They’ll probably choose the one that can pay more of the travel fees on their own.

Gerhard Bezuidenhout
6 years ago

Roland schoeman has been 21.80 in that pool

6 years ago

Waddell also qualified for the 50 free didn’t he?

Reply to  Swimnerd
6 years ago

Hell ya he did

6 years ago

I’m rooting for him to give schooling some humble pie this summer.

IMs for days
Reply to  Cheatinvlad
6 years ago

Yes, King Chad can give Mr. Ego a big lesson ?

Reply to  IMs for days
6 years ago

There’s only one king kyle chalmers

Reply to  ELLIE
6 years ago

King Cong***

Reply to  Cheatinvlad
6 years ago

Dressel already did.

E Gamble
Reply to  Cheatinvlad
6 years ago

At least Schooling has the sense not to stare down the GOAT prior to a race. Chad needs to take a bite of that pie as well. I’m just saying.

6 years ago

Anyone know if he’s still breathing the same?

Reply to  Markster
6 years ago

Yes. I believe it’s still inhale-exhale.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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