November 28, 2022

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South Africa swim star Chad le Clos targets Commonwealth history

South Africa swim star Chad le Clos targets Commonwealth history

South African swimming star Chad le Clos set himself up for a shot at Commonwealth Games history on Sunday as breaststroke world record holder Adam Peaty prepares to go for gold.

Le Clos, the defending champion in the men’s 200m butterfly, qualified second-quickest for the evening final behind New Zealand’s 400m individual medley champion Lewis Clareburt, who timed 1min 56.76sec.

The 30-year-old South African has won 17 medals across three Commonwealth Games and has the chance to add to that collection in Birmingham.

Any podium finish at the Sandwell Aquatic Centre would lift him level with shooters Michael Gault and Phil Adams, who jointly hold the all-time record of 18.

Le Clos reached the final 10 years to the day since he beat American great Michael Phelps at London 2012 to become Olympic champion.

“It’s spooky,” he said. “It’s a monumental day for me absolutely but you know what, I’ve taken the emotion out of today because it’s different.

“It’s the same country, same day, same hour, same lane but at the end of the day, I’ve just got to be composed tonight, execute, have a game plan.”

Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa was fastest in qualifying for the women’s 200m breaststroke final, more than three seconds quicker than Australia’s Jenna Strauch in 2:21.76.

Canada’s Joshua Liendo topped the men’s 100m freestyle heats in a time of 48.54sec, edging out Olympic 200m champion Tom Dean.

Olympic women’s 100m butterfly champion Margaret Mac Neil of Canada was fastest in the women’s 50m butterfly heats in 26.24.

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Powerhouse Australia are well clear at the top of the medals table — which includes swimming and para swimming events — with eight golds from a possible 17 on offer so far.

England’s Peaty will be the star attraction in the men’s 100m breaststroke final on Sunday evening.

The Olympic champion, who has dominated his event in recent years, was forced to miss the world championships in Budapest in June due to a foot injury.

Emma McKeon will go for a 11th Commonwealth gold, which would be a record for Australia, in Sunday evening’s women’s 50m freestyle final but will face a fierce challenge from compatriot Shayna Jack.

McKeon, who already has two relay golds in Birmingham, is currently level on 10 golds with fellow swimmers Ian Thorpe, Susie O’Neill and Leisel Jones.

Other finals taking place on Sunday evening are the women’s 100m backstroke and the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay.