Chad le Clos had to be content with the 50m butterfly silver medal at the FINA Swimming World Short-Course Championships in Hangzhou, China on Saturday.
Le Clos was looking to become the first male swimmer to win three 50m butterfly gold medals but was beaten to the wall by 38-year-old Nicholas Santos of Brazil.
World record-holder Santos got out of the blocks like a rocket slamming into the wall with a new championship mark of 21.81 seconds with Le Clos touching second in 21.97. Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago rounded off the podium in 22.38.
“It was a great race and I am happy with my time, of course, I would have liked to have won but fair play to Nick,” Le Clos said.
“That was a crazy time [21.81]. I can’t complain, it is what it is. Nick is phenomenal. He is 38-years-old and he is winning world titles. I hope when I am 28 I am winning world titles.”
The South African swimming sensation won his second silver medal at the global showpiece extending his overall tally over five championships to 14 medals.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Ryan Coetzee finished in eighth place with a time of 22.99.
The 26-year-old Le Clos became the first man to win an incredible fourth 100m butterfly gold medal on Thursday while he also won the 200m butterfly silver to kick off his campaign in Hangzhou
He will be looking to follow in the footsteps of swimming legend Ryk Neethling, who won the title in the blue riband event at the Shanghai 2006 championships.
World record holder Cameron van der Burgh will be looking to bring his career to a golden end when he features in Sunday’s 50m breaststroke final after posting the fastest time in the semi-final clocking 25.76.
Van der Burgh will be looking to win his first 50-100m breaststroke golden double at the championships.