Inspired by Van der Burgh, Le Clos heads for semi-finals

2012-07-30 11:56

London – South African sensation Chad le Clos was the country’s saving grace on the third day of the swimming competition at the London Olympic Games today.

Le Clos finished second in his heat in a time of one minute, 55.23 seconds – the fourth fastest of all the heats in the men’s 200 metres butterfly.

The 20-year-old said he was surprised with his performance, coming close to his personal best.
“I’m happy with the time,” Le Clos said.

Le Clos added that he had been inspired by compatriot Cameron van der Burgh’s world record performance in the men’s 100m breaststroke final the evening before.

“It was probably one of the greatest moments I’ve seen,” he said.

“Most of us were in tears, it was really emotional, a very emotional night.

“It’s hard to describe, I felt like I was swimming.”

Le Clos is tipped to give a similar performance as Van der Burgh did, while his performance in the semi-finals later this evening would reveal whether he could clinch a medal in his maiden Olympic appearance.

Van der Burgh yesterday said he hoped his performance would inspire the other swimmers, and judging by Le Clos’ comments, it is exactly what he has done.

“It’s picked me up a lot. Everyone’s excited to see what we can do,” Le Clos said.

“I’m super-excited, I woke up this morning like ‘whoah’.

“We’re on the map now, we’re going to keep going.”

Le Clos also received a morale booster by finishing faster than 14-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps.

“Hopefully I’ll take them (his races) one at a time, I just need to make the final, but to make the final is not going to be easy,” he said.

“So I’m just going to go out there and go really hard tonight.

“I think that once you make the final any of the eight (swimmers) can win a medal.”

It was an otherwise disappointing performance in the pool with Karin Prinsloo crashing out in her heat of the women’s 200m freestyle.

Prinsloo finished seventh with a time of 1:59.24 in her Olympic debut and will have another chance to make a splash in the 200m backstroke.

An emotional Prinsloo said she was disappointed in herself after she had a good build-up to the Games.

Meanwhile, Kathryn Meaklim’s Olympics have come to an end as she failed to progress past the heats of the women’s 200m individual medley.

Meaklim finished seventh in a time of 2:15.25 to close the curtain on her time in London.

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