Chasing his third consecutive 200m butterfly gold medal at the FINA World Short-Course Swimming Championships, Chad le Clos had to be content with silver in Hangzhou, China on Tuesday.
Le Clos swam faster than the world record he set in 2013 when he touched in a time of 1:48.32 but it was not fast enough to beat Japan’s Daiya Seto to the wall.
Seto out-touched the South African by 0.08s after taking a narrow lead in the last 100 metres of the race claiming the title in a world-record time of 1:48.24.
“I can’t say anything bad, I posted a world record but unfortunately I was beaten,” Le Clos said.
“Daiya Seto is a great guy, a great champion. It stings to lose like that. Tonight was his race. I swam well, I got the world record, so I have no regrets.”
The Japanese swimmer denied Le Clos his fourth 200m butterfly gold medal with the South African boasting the 2010, 2014 and 2016 titles.
Le Clos received a tough draw swimming from lane-one where he had to glance to the middle of the pool to see his closest rivals.
“We’ve both been back and forth the past six years, and I said to one of the guys earlier that gold is between me and him tonight again,” Le Clos said.
“I don’t make excuses, it is what it is. I would have loved to have been in lane-five next to him.
“I was watching him the whole way from the side and I have no excuses at all.”
World record-holder Cameron van der Burgh marched through to the 100m breaststroke final finishing third in his semi-final clocking the sixth fastest time of 56.90 seconds.
Van der Burgh won the gold medal at the 2010 Dubai world championships and will be looking for a repeat in Wednesday’s final.