Le Clos dominates in Beijing

Chad le Clos (AFP Photo)
Chad le Clos (AFP Photo)

Beijing - South Africa's Chad Le Clos racked up the wins on the last day of swimming's short-course World Cup, boosting his total gold medal count to 24 with two more first-place victories at Beijing's "Watercube" National Aquatic Center on Thursday.

Hungarian powerhouse Katinka Hosszu, who like Le Clos this year claims her second series title, took home an additional three bronzes and one silver on Thursday and boasted a total gold count of more than 30.

Their victories put Hosszu on track to take home at least $300 000 and Le Clos at least $280 000 in prize money after this year's eight-leg series, which kicked off in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in August and continued on to Berlin, Moscow, Dubai, Doha, Singapore, Tokyo and finally Beijing.

Le Clos, 21, famously edged out his idol, American swim star Michael Phelps, at last year's London Olympics to win the 200m men's butterfly gold.

On Thursday, the South African pulled out a dramatic victory over another American, Tom Shields, in the 100m butterfly, clocking 49.41 to Shields' 49.45. Le Clos also surged to gold in the 200m medley, beating away a challenge from China's Wang Shun. Another Chinese swimmer, Mao Feilian, placed third.

Swimmers also waged a hard-fought battle in the men's 100 breaststroke, which Hungary's Daniel Gyurta narrowly edged out Russia's Vladimir Morozov to win 57.34 to 57.39.

Hosszu, who has competed in a gruelling 10 events in Beijing and is building up to the European short-course championships next month, won silver in the women's 200m butterfly, clocking 2:05.35.

But the 24-year-old Hungarian was bested by Spain's Mireia Belmonte, who shot to victory in the event with a sizzling 2:04.20.

Belmonte also overtook Hosszu to win gold in the women's 400m individual medley in 4:25.23, while Hosszu dropped to third with 4:27.66, trailing both Belmonte and Great Britain's Hannah Miley.

Some good news came for hosts China in the women's 400m freestyle as Chinese swimmer Shao Yiwen claimed victory in 3:58.92, with New Zealand's Lauren Boyle a close second.

Australian swimmers have set four world records this World Cup in the mixed 4x50m medley relay, and on Thursday, a quartet of Australians took gold in another relay, the mixed 4x50m freestyle, clocking 1:30.52 in the night's most highly-anticipated event.

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