The four-time world champion clocked a Games record one minute, 54 seconds flat to become the first male swimmer to win three consecutive Commonwealth gold medals in the same event.
“I wanted to get the three-peat,” said Le Clos, who shot to fame at the 2012 London Olympics by stunning Phelps in the 200m butterfly in one of the sport’s great upsets.
“No-one’s done the triple before so – Michael Phelps of Commonwealth,” added the pin-up with a wide smile, after beating Australian David Morgan by more than two-and-a-half seconds.
“It means a lot. Tonight was all about history – it was all business.”
Only Australian women Leisel Jones (100-200m breaststroke) and Petria Thomas (100m butterfly) have previously won three consecutive golds in the same event at the Commonwealth Games.
“I had to get in and get the job done and come out as unscathed as possible,” said Le Clos, following his gold in Friday’s 50m fly with a sparkling performance.
“That was my fastest ever 150m split and then I knew the race was over.”
Chad Le Clos @chadleclos on Friday became South Africa’s most successful Commonwealth Games athlete in history when he claimed his 13 th CWG medal overall. Le Clos won gold in the 50m butterfly to pass another swimmer Roland Schoeman who had won 12 medals. pic.twitter.com/uq0FfYTqG6
— TeamSouthAfrica (@TeamSA18) April 6, 2018
Le Clos, who is contesting seven events at the Games, returned to the pool to qualify second fastest for Sunday’s 100m freestyle final, ahead of Australia’s Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers.
“Tomorrow is going to be a humdinger,” predicted the South African. “I want to be in the mix of things and let’s see what happens.”
Le Clos arrived in Australia looking to become the most successful athlete in Commonwealth Games history. He was six medals behind shooters Mick Gault and Philip Adams, who lead the way with 18.
Despite adding two gold to his haul, Le Clos will have to wait until Birmingham 2022 to overtake them after failing to medal in the 200m freestyle and the 4x100m free.
“Obviously I’m not going to get the six medals but I’d like to win as many golds as possible and get the fly treble,” said the 25-year-old, targeting yet another Games first.
“It was painful but I wanted to just make sure I was winning comfortably,” he added after his butterfly victory. “I’m as sore as you can be after six races in the space of 24 hours.”
Looking forward to Sunday’s final in the 100m free, swimming’s blue riband event, Le Clos promised: “They will feel me. I have nothing to lose. I may get fourth, I may get eighth – but I also might just win.”
England powerhouse Adam Peaty extended his remarkable 100 metres breaststroke winning streak as Chad le Clos claimed a historic third consecutive butterfly title at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Saturday.
Peaty, 23, the Olympic, world and European champion, completed a four-year unbeaten cycle in his signature event but was critical of his performance in the outdoor Gold Coast pool.
Elsewhere on the third night of swimming, Canada’s world record-holder Kylie Masse won a thrilling 100m backstroke final, Australia’s Cate Campbell clocked another record in winning the 50m free, South African Tatjana Schoenmaker captured the 200m breaststroke and Australia won the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay in a Games record.
Perfectionist Peaty found fault, saying he wasn’t in control of his race.
“I won but even though it’s a gold medal, four years undefeated and it completed the circle, I’m not happy with that performance because it’s not the best version of me,” Peaty said.
— 7CommGames (@7CommGames) April 7, 2018
“It was the first time ever where I felt not in control of my race and I let the event get to me too much, thinking about the end result instead of the process. I feel it’s the pressure I add on myself.”
World record-holder Peaty’s time of 58.84secs was outside the Games record he set in the semi-finals.
The all-action Englishman, who shattered his own world record with 57.13sec in winning Olympic gold at Rio two years ago, remains unconquered in the 100m breaststroke since storming to gold at Glasgow four years ago.
Team-mate James Wilby, who won the 200m breaststroke gold on Thursday, finished strongly for second in 59.43secs, with South Africa’s former world record-holder Cameron van der Burgh third in 59.44secs.
FASTEST EVER 150
Elsewhere, South Africa’s four-time butterfly world champion Le Clos became the first man to win three consecutive gold medals in the same event at the Commonwealth Games with a storming victory in the 200 fly.
Le Clos swam a Games-record 1:54.00 for his second gold of the meet, his sixth career Commonwealth win and 14th medal overall.
Only Australians Leisel Jones (100/200m breaststroke) and Petria Thomas (100m butterfly) have won three consecutive golds in the same event at the Games.
Le Clos, who famously toppled American Olympic legend Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly at the 2012 London Olympics, also won the gruelling event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and Glasgow.
“That was my fastest ever 150 split and then I knew the race was over,” said Le Clos, who later backed it up by beating Australia’s Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers in the 100m free semi-final.
“Obviously I’m not going to get the six medals but I’d like to win as many golds as possible and get the fly treble.”
Le Clos won the 50m fly on Friday, but his bid to win five more medals and become the all-time leading Games medallist fizzled out when he missed the podium in the 200m freestyle and the 4x100m free.
Campbell, meanwhile, swam the third-fastest time in history to win the 50m freestyle in a Games-record 23.78secs, edging out her sister Bronte and Canada’s Taylor Ruck who dead-heated for second.
“I’ve been really pleased with my racing so far and being able to put together fast races and improve from heats to semis to finals,” Campbell said.
It’s been a barnstorming meet for Campbell, anchoring her team to a world record in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
Canada’s world record-holder Masse out-touched Australian rival Emily Seebohm by three-hundredths of a second to win a pulsating 100m backstroke final in a Games-record 58.63secs.
“I knew she was going to be right there,” Masse said of her rivalry with Seebohm. “I had no idea how close she was at the end until I got out of the pool and I looked up at the times.”
Australia shattered the women’s 4×100 metres freestyle world record for their second gold medal on the opening night’s finals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
The team of Shayna Jack, Bronte Campbell, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell went 0.60 seconds under Australia’s previous world record set at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
They posted a blistering three minutes 30.05 seconds with Cate Campbell bringing home the world record with a flying final leg of 51.00secs.
Australia beat home Canada and England for their second gold medal of the opening night after Olympic champion Mack
Horton claimed the 400m freestyle final earlier in the programme.
Horton became Australia’s first 400 metres freestyle winner at the Commonwealth Games since the great Ian Thorpe with his victory.
Horton swam a perfectly judged race to reel in team-mate Jack McLoughlin and England’s James Guy to win gold in three minutes 43.76 seconds.
Horton tracked the leading duo in the first half of the race before making his charge in the final 150m.
Horton, who upset Chinese defending champion Sun Yang to snatch gold at Rio two years ago, joined five-time Olympic champion Thorpe, who was the last Australian man to win the 400m free in Manchester in 2002.
Fittingly, Thorpe presented Horton with his gold medal at the podium presentation.
“It’s really about swimming to win. It was a good race with James — he’s always out quick,” Horton said.
“I knew I had to mow him that last 200. I was still a bit soft and slow in that first 200.
“It’s good. Just swimming in front of the home crowd is unreal. I probably feel more emotion here than in Rio (2016 Olympic Games) because the whole crowd is cheering for you.
“That didn’t happen so much in Rio. Ten thousand people cheering for you is pretty unreal.”
It was Horton’s third career Commonwealth Games medal after winning 4x200m freestyle gold and 1,500m freestyle silver in Glasgow in 2014.
England also claimed two gold medals on the opening night with Aimee Wilmott denying Hannah Miley’s bid for a Scottish record three consecutive 400m individual medley gold medals and James Wilby dethroning Scottish defending champion Ross Murdoch in the 200m breaststroke.
Wilmott, beaten by Miley in the 2014 Glasgow final, fought back tenaciously in the final freestyle leg to pip the Scot by 0.26secs with Australia’s Blair Evans third.
“I’ve been second almost every single time,” Wilmott said.
“I’ve raced against Hannah in every meet and I’ve been second every time. I knew that this time it could have been me if I just swam the race a little bit better.”
Miley was 0.03secs ahead heading into the final leg but Wilmott finished strongly for the gold medal.
Miley, 28, was bidding to become the first Scot to claim three consecutive golds in the same event at the Commonwealth Games after winning gold at Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.
Wilby came with a late rush to tip out Murdoch in the 200m breaststroke final by 0.27secs in 2:08.05 with Australian Matt Wilson third.
Canada’s Taylor Ruck upset the fancied Australians Ariarne Titmus and defending champion Emma McKeon to win the 200m freestyle gold.
Ruck set a new Games record of 1:54.81 to deny the fast-closing Titmus by just four-hundredths of a second in a desperate finish, with McKeon taking bronze.
The 17-year-old Titmus is the rising star of Australian swimming after becoming the first Australian woman in 14 years to complete the 200m/400m/800m freestyle treble at the selection trials last month.