Chad le Clos

Chad le Clos clips Caeleb Dressel at short course worlds

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Chad le Clos exacted some revenge against the U.S. from the last two years, edging Caeleb Dressel in the 100m butterfly at the world short-course championships in Hangzhou, China, on Thursday.

The South African le Clos held off Dressel, the new American golden boy, by .21 to win his fourth straight short-course world title in the event. Le Clos had struggled recently in the 100m fly in the longer, Olympic-sized pool, missing the final at 2017 Worlds (won by Dressel) after sharing silver with rival Michael Phelps and Laszlo Cseh in Rio.

Le Clos called Thursday the biggest race of his short-course career.

“I was anxious because I was waiting the whole day for this, the whole week and the past three months because I knew this one could come,” he said, according to FINA. “I really wanted to race Dressel. He is the best short-course yards swimmer, and I am the best meters swimmer.”

Dressel, who earned a Phelps record-tying seven golds at 2017 Worlds, may have been slowed in the 100m fly final by racing 25 minutes after his 50m freestyle semifinal. He later anchored a U.S. 4x50m mixed-gender medley relay to gold in a world-record time.

“The fly could have been better, but you just move on and learn from it,” he said, according to FINA.

Short-course worlds are held in even-numbered years in a 25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used at the Olympics. U.S. Olympic champions Katie LedeckySimone Manuel and Lilly King are among those not competing this week.

WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

In other events Thursday, Lisa Bratton was the surprise 200m backstroke champion, edging the U.S.’ best long-course backstroker, Kathleen Baker, by .08. Bratton, 22, missed the Rio Olympic team by one spot at trials and ranks fourth in the U.S. in the long-course 200m back this year.

Mallory Comerford added 100m free bronze to her 200m silver from earlier in the week, breaking Manuel’s American record and giving her five medals through the meet’s first three days.

Leah Smith earned 800m free bronze, as she did at long-course worlds last year.

Worlds continue Friday, with finals streaming live on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app.

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Chad le Clos wins 200m butterfly, thanks Michael Phelps (video)

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Had Chad le Clos swum this fast in Rio, he would have gotten the better of Michael Phelps.

Le Clos, the shadow-boxing South African who drummed up a rivalry with Phelps the last Olympic cycle, recorded his fastest 200m butterfly since upsetting Phelps at London 2012 to win the world title Wednesday.

“I had a very difficult year last year, as you guys know, I lost to my great friend and idol Michael Phelps,” Le Clos said on NBCSN before tearing up in the medal ceremony. “I said last year, judge me by how I respond in adversity, and I proved it tonight.”

Le Clos clocked 1:53.33 in Budapest, which was .73 faster than he went in Rio, where he faded to fourth place while infamously peeking a lane over at Phelps in the last 50 meters.

Phelps, by the way, went .03 slower in Rio than Le Clos went Wednesday. That Olympic defeat served as motivation for Le Clos, who at 25 appears to have more gold medals in front of him.

“I’ve never been so hungry to be successful after last year,” said Le Clos, who rocketed out to a 1.11-second lead in the first 100 meters and hung on in the last 50. “So I must thank Michael Phelps for that.”

Le Clos will take on Rio Olympic champion Joseph Schooling and rising American Caeleb Dressel in the 100m butterfly. Heats and semis are Friday, with the final Saturday as Le Clos eyes a third straight world title in that event.

Men’s 200m Butterfly Results
Gold: Chad le Clos (RSA) — 1:53.33
Silver: Laszlo Cseh (HUN) — 1:53.72
Bronze: Daiya Seto (JPN) — 1:54.21
4. Tamas Kenderesi (HUN) — 1:54.73
5. Jack Conger (USA) — 1:54.88
6. Masato Sakai (JPN) — 1:55.04
7. Viktor Bromer (DEN) — 1:55.30
8. Antani Ivanov (BUL) — 1:55.98

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WORLDS: TV Schedule | Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview | Schedule/Results

Chad le Clos still has nightmares of losing to Michael Phelps in Rio

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Chad le Clos reportedly said he still has nightmares about losing to Michael Phelps in their much-anticipated rematch in the Rio Olympic 200m butterfly.

“I wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat over that race,” le Clos said, according to Independent Online in South Africa.

In Rio, le Clos finished fourth in the 200m butterfly final (video here), seven tenths of a second behind Phelps after famously turning his head to look at Phelps in the final 50 meters of the race.

In 2012, le Clos beat Phelps for Olympic gold by .05.

When Phelps unretired in 2014, he said he would never race the 200m butterfly again. But he picked it up a year later, in part because times around the world were not that fast and in part because of his desire to exact revenge on le Clos in Rio.

Now, it’s le Clos who wants a rematch.

“I want it that bad,” le Clos said, according to the report. “I just want Phelps to come back.”

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