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BARCELONA, Spain, July 31. NEARLY every time South African Chad Le Clos steps up on the big stage anymore, he’s making some sort of history. That didn’t change with his win tonight in the men’s 200-meter fly at the FINA World Championships.
Le Clos turned in a winning time of 1:54.32 a year after a huge win against Michael Phelps at the 2012 London Games in this same event. That was historic then, and tonight’s win proved to be historic as well as Le Clos is the first person outside of America or Europe to have captured the men’s 200-meter fly since its inception back in 1973.
It wasn’t the fastest time for Le Clos, as he produces a 1:52.96 in London, but he’s certainly cementing his status as the best 200 flier in the world with Phelps now retired (even though the rumor mill keeps stirring that he will be back).
Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski demonstrated some serious staying power in the sport as he took second in 1:55.01, even though he couldn’t hold off a final 50-meter charge from Le Clos for the win. That’s Korzeniowski’s third podium since first winning the whole thing in 2005. He also took silver to Michael Phelps in 2009.
China’s Wu Peng also earned his third 200 fly career medal with a bronze 1:55.09. He took second to Phelps in 2007, and bronze in 2011 behind Phelps and Takeshi Matsuda. Matsuda was unable to make it to the finale this year.
China’s Chen Yin (1:55.47), USA’s Tom Luchsinger (1:55.70), Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov (1:56.02), USA’s Tyler Clary (1:56.34) and Brazil’s Leonardo De Deus (1:56.44) rounded out the championship finale.