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Superb Le Clos closes in on World Cup title with six more golds in Beijing

Tolentino, 10 November 2011 – Arena Elite Team member Chad Le Clos effectively assured himself the 2011 FINA/Arena World Cup $100,000 first prize with yet another phenomenal performance at Beijing’s Water Cube on November 8th-9th.

In the sixth and penultimate leg of the series, Le Clos upped his racing load to seven events, winning six and taking silver in the seventh. As in Singapore this past weekend, the 19-year-old South African once again won all three IM events (100m, 200m, 400m) in times of 52.89, 1:55.04 and 4:07.35 respectively, the 100m and 200m butterfly in 50.93 and 1:51.74 respectively, and the 200m freestyle in 1:43.62. His second-place finish came in his first 100m freestyle attempt of the series, missing out on the gold by a mere 0.01s. Having swum the fastest-ever textile time (SC) for the 200m fly in Berlin, he improved on his seasonal best times for both 100m IM and 200m free, while his 100m freestyle effort took him into the top ten for the season.

Beijing was Le Clos’ sixth consecutive appearance in the series, raising his medal tally to a remarkable 22 golds, seven silvers, and a bronze. Only twice in 32 starts has he failed to make the podium, finishing fourth in each of these two cases. Earning the maximum from his Beijing performance lifted his series points total to 136, with his closest challenger a distant second on 70 points, and to all intents and purposes he has wrapped up the 2011 World Cup title with still one meet to go.

Also closing in on the series title on the women’s side is fellow Elite Team member Therese Alshammar, whose efforts in the Water Cube returned two victories and a narrow second-place finish. The 34-year-old Swede won both the 50m and 100m butterfly events (in 25.40 and 55.76 respectively), and lost the 50m freestyle by just 0.01s. With her fifth appearance of the series in Beijing, Alshammar took her medal total to 13 golds and three silvers. Like Le Clos, Alshammar also earned maximum points from the meet to take her to 95 points, and in pole position to defend the series title she won in 2010.

Other strong performances by women swimmers competing under the banner of their Arena-sponsored federations include New Zealand’s Melissa Ingram (gold 200m backstroke); and Sweden’s Martina Granstroem (silver 200m fly).

The series makes its final stop for the 2011 edition in Tokyo this coming weekend on November 12th-13th.