Chad Le Clos just can’t stop winning.
Ever Since Le Clos stunned the world by taking down Michael Phelps in his signature 200 butterfly race at last summer’s Olympics in London, the youngster from South Africa has been on an absolute tear. At last week’s FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, Le Clos captured both the 100 and 200 butterfly races in dominant fashion, winning in times of 51.06 and 1:54.32 respectively. Throw in the fact that he was also able to split a 47.97 on South Africa’s 4×100 freestyle relay, and you’ve got yourself one of the most talented 21-year olds on the planet.
Le Clos kept his winning streak going on the first day of competition at the FINA World Cup stop at Eindhoven, where he crushed his competition in the 200 meter butterfly en route to a new world record of 1:49.04. The time clips the previous standard of 1:49.11 that was held by Brazil’s Kaio Almeida from the 2009 FINA World Cup stop in Stockholm, Sweden.
Le Clos is now just the fourth man ever to break 1:50 in the race, and his swim takes about a half-second off of Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda’s 1:49.50, which had been the previous textile best.
In the same race, Tom Shields also joined the record-breaking parade. After cruising to a 1:53.09 in prelims, Tom Shields swam to a lifetime best, and new American record of 1:51.38 in the final, which was good for 3rd place behind Le Clos and Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov (1:50.99). Shields’ time cut a half-second off Davis Tarwater’s 1:51.90 that had stood since the 2011 Duel in the Pool in Atlanta, Georgia, where Tarwater had broken Michael Phelp’s previous standard of 1:52.26 from 2009.
Le Clos ’13: 24.88, 28.57, 27.86, 27.73 = 1:49.04
Almeida ’09: 24.80, 28.63, 26.81, 28.87 = 1:49.11
Shields ’13: 25.03, 28.68, 28.78, 28.89 = 1:51.38
Tarwater ’11: 25.47, 28.01, 28.66, 29.76 = 1:51.90
Shields now owns the record in short course meters, and is also tied for the American record in short course yards, when he tied Michael Phelps’ 1:39.65 at the NCAA Championships last March.
Last week, Tom Shields blitzed the 100 meter butterfly at the US Opens in Irvine, CA with a very fast time of 51.65, that was good for 8th in the world, and also would have placed him in the final last week at the World Championships. Both Shields and Le Clos are entered in the 100 buttefly tomorrow. Shields boasts a lifetime best of 49.54 in the event, while Chad Le Clos has a 48.82 to his name.
The World record is held by Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia, who swam a 48.48 back in 2009. The American record is a 49.07 from all the way back in 2004 when Ian Crocker broke the world record at the NCAA Championships, which were contested in SCM that year.