Three more medals, two of them gold, went into the bank as South Africa’s swimmers continued to do their part to ensure the country has something to celebrate
Chad le Clos outclassed a quality field to win his third straight 200 metre Commonwealth Games butterfly title, breaking the event record in the process and ensuring he becomes part of Games folklore.
And on a truly memorable evening for South Africa, Tatjana Schoenmaker produced the performance of her life to claim the gold in the 200m breaststroke.
The 20-year-old from Pretoria has planted herself well and truly on the international swimming landscape and her 2:22.02 performance was an African record. It also sliced some 1.55 seconds off her personal best and she left England’s Molly Renshaw trailing in her wake.
Someone who is used to medals though is Le Clos. ‘I wanted to get the three 200m titles, which makes me the first man to win the same event three times in a row. Tonight was all about history. It was business right from the start and I was out to get the job done and come back unscathed. I want to be in the mix of things in the 100m freestyle final which is tomorrow night,’ South Africa’s superstar said afterwards.
Le Clos had 24 hours earlier won the 50m butterfly gold and he’s now odds-on to get the full house, with the 100m as well. He arrived on the Gold Coast on a mission and while the all-time Commonwealth Games record of 18 is out of reach, his two medals thus far put him on 14 – and counting.
This was a good night for South Africa’s swimmers. Cameron van der Burgh settled for the bronze in the 100m breaststroke and he admitted that nowadays it’s all about the love of the sport and that’s what keeps him going.
Someone at the other end of their career is 19-year-old Erin Gallagher who marked her arrival on the big stage with a fifth-place finish in the 50m freestyle, where she timed 25.03 in her first major championship final. ‘I probably tried to rush things a bit and lost a bit of rhythm, but I’m learning all the time and this experience will help me going forward. There’s a lot more to come,’ she said.