Gearing up for a final charge in the World Cup series, Chad le Clos is eager to deliver another explosive surge in search of a record fourth overall title in the lucrative annual campaign.
Le Clos stretched his lead at the top of the men’s rankings by raking in another six medals at the fifth leg of the series in Doha on Wednesday and Thursday.
While he spearheaded a large South African contingent, he was one of only two SA medallists at the midweek gala.
Regaining his dominance in the butterfly stroke, after losing to American Tom Shields in the 200m race at the previous leg in Hong Kong, the former Olympic champion won gold in the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly finals, as well as the 200m freestyle.
Flaunting his versatility with a packed racing programme, he also pocketed silver medals in the 50m freestyle and 200m backstroke events.
“I’m very happy to get the fly treble,” Le Clos said.
“It has been a great start (to the series) for me, and I’m looking forward to the next cluster.”
After five of eight legs in the short-course series, Le Clos had 312 points, and he was well clear of World Championships 100m breaststroke bronze medallist Kirill Prigoda of Russia, who was lying second overall with 201 points.
Breaststroke star Cameron van der Burgh, the only other SA swimmer to have made an impact in the 2017 campaign, was in fifth place in the men’s rankings with 153 points after winning the 50m and 100m finals in his specialist stroke in Doha.
The last three legs of the World Cup series will be held in Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore next month.
If Le Clos holds on to his advantage, he will become the first man to lift the overall World Cup title four times.