Swimming, Day 7 - Men’s 100m butterfly: Chad Le Clos (RSA) ends with US “era”
Since the 2003 title of Ian Crocker also in Barcelona, the United States had amassed all the gold medals at stake in this event, thanks also to Michael Phelps, the winner of the previous three editions, in Melbourne 2007, Rome 2009 and Shanghai 2011. After the retirement of the greatest Olympian in history, there was an empty spot for the first place, and the one taking it at the Palau Sant Jordi was Chad Le Clos (RSA), precisely the man who beat the North American at the 2012 Games (in the 200m fly).
The South African clinched his second gold in Barcelona, touching home in 51.06, still far from the World and Championships record set by Phelps in 2009 (49.82). But this was a natural victory if we consider the London results, where Le Clos was the runner-up of the North American in this event.
The silver went to Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, who lived most of his career in the shade of Phelps and despite having nine medals at the FINA World Championships, only counts with one gold in his roll of honour (in 2005, in the 400m IM). The Magyar star clocked 51.45, being faster than Konrad Czerniak (POL), bronze medallist in 51.46 (he had been second two years ago in Shanghai).
The best performer of this year before this final, Germany’s Steffen Deibler (51.19 in April) seemed to be in a good position to enter the medal zone until the 75m, but faded out in the final, concluding fourth in 51.54. Ryan Lochte (USA), the fastest of the semis and winner of four medals in this competition, finished sixth in 51.58. It is the first time since 1998 that USA has no medallist in this event.
World Record: Michael Phelps (USA), 49.82 – August 1, 2009 in Rome (ITA)
Championships Record: Michael Phelps (USA), 49.82 – August 1, 2009 in Rome (ITA)
Best performance of the current season (since January 2013): Chad Le Clos (RSA), 51.06 – August 3, in Barcelona (ESP)
2003-2011 winners in this event: 2003 – Ian Crocker (USA, 50.98); 2005 – Ian Crocker (USA, 50.40); 2007 – Michael Phelps (USA, 50.77); 2009 – Michael Phelps (USA, 49.82); 2011 – Michael Phelps (USA, 50.71)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Michael Phelps (USA, 2007, 2009 & 2011)
2012 Olympic podium: 1. Michael Phelps (USA, 51.21), 2. Chad Le Clos (RSA) and Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS), 51.44
Gold medal winner: Chad Le Clos (RSA)
"Like my dad says, it's unbelievable! I took 3 months off after the Olympics, I was not sure about going to these World Championships. We had a good training camp in Hungary, before that, I was not in great shape so I'm just pleased with what happened."
Silver medal winner: Laszlo Cseh (HUN)
"I'm really happy with this second place, I put everything I had in this race. That was not my race but now that I won the silver, I'll try to redo the fly. I really like the medley, it's close to my heart."
"In such races, you need to beat your rivals but you also need to beat yourself. No other swimmer can give you this extra boost. That said, I'm really happy to race Michael Phelps and Chad Le Clos."
Bronze medal winner: Konrad Czerniak (POL)
"Last year was hard for me, I wasn't fast in the Olympics so it was really important for me to be fast here, I wanted to be on the podium and I made it. It was close so I'm proud to be on the podium with Chad and Laszlo, I'm very happy."
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