Cape Town - Chad le Clos added a silver medal to the bronze he won on Thursday at the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi.
The 29-year-old came close to clinching a fifth straight world title in the 100m butterfly, but missed out by just 17 hundredths of a second to Italian Matteo Rivolta on Saturday.
Le Clos was quickest off the blocks but well down after the first turn. His second and third turns were far better, but he still had some catching up to do in the final 25m.
The former world record-holder just couldn’t catch Rivolta who claimed the gold in 48.87, with Le Clos second in 49.04 and Russian Andrei Minakov third in 49.21.
Le Clos first claimed gold in the 100m butterfly in 2012 and followed that up with victory in 2014, 2016 (where he won in a then-world record time of 48.08) and 2018. His world record stood until November 2020 when it was broken by American Caeleb Dressel.
Le Clos’s silver on Saturday brings his overall tally of medals at the World Short Course Championships to an impressive 17.
Meanwhile, it was a first medal at the event for 30-year-old Rivolta.
“I’m very happy with this performance. I hoped to see a little faster than this time, but it was a great race and I’m happy to share the podium a friend of mine, Chad,” said the Italian afterwards. “It was my first world final in short course so it’s a good result for me.”
The other South Africans in action on Saturday fell short in the heats. Tayla Lovemore finished ninth in her 50m butterfly heat in 26.78. That saw her ending 25th overall and missing out on the semi-finals.
It was a similar scenario for 2018 World Short Course Championships bronze medallist Brad Tandy. He also finished ninth in his 50m freestyle heat in 21.87, and 29th overall.
Both Tandy and Le Clos are scheduled to compete in the 50m butterfly heats on Sunday while Michaela Pulford is set to swim in the 400m freestyle heats.