Le Clos aiming for world mark at OCBC Aquatic Centre
He's done it once here in Singapore, now swim star Chad le Clos wants to do it again.
The 22-year-old South African yesterday declared his intention to set a new 100m butterfly world record at the Fina/Mastbank Swimming World Cup (short course), which will be held at the OCBC Aquatic Centre at the Sports Hub this weekend.
His best time in the event is 48.59sec, less than a tenth shy of the current mark of 48.48 set by Russian Yevgeny Korotyshkin in 2009.
At last year's World Cup leg in Singapore, le Clos set a world record in the men's 200m butterfly event with a time of 1min 48.56sec at the Singapore Sports School, bettering his own mark set three months earlier.
"Singapore has been a happy hunting ground for me," said the Olympic gold medallist and multiple Commonwealth Games champion with a wide grin, at a pre-competition press conference at the Kallang Wave Mall.
"It'll be my first time swimming at the new (OCBC Arena) complex. I had a little walk this morning and it's awesome.
"I think I can hopefully get close to the 100m butterfly world record.
"Last year I broke the 200m world record, and this year I've been focusing more on the sprints.
"It'll be a tough competition like it has been throughout the World Cup series but, hopefully, I can break it. We'll see."
Le Clos is one of the most recognisable swimmers in the world after pipping Michael Phelps to gold in the 200m butterfly at the London Olympics two years ago, and he leads a stellar cast of international swim stars competing for a prize purse of US$102,000 ($129,737) at the Fina World Cup.
Also in town are the likes of Commonwealth Games winner Francesca Halsall from Britain, and Asian record holder Daiya Seto from Japan.
Hungary's "Iron Lady" Katinka Hosszu, who triumphed in the 100m fly, 100m backstroke, 100m, 200m and 400 individual medley last year, is back to defend her title of "Queen" of the Singapore leg.
Another competitor to look out for is Singapore's own swim queen Tao Li, who will be competing for the first time at the OCBC Arena.
"I'm excited to swim with world-class athletes and I hope to do Singapore proud," said the double Asian Games champion.
The international swimmers all said they were looking forward to racing at the new OCBC Aquatic Centre.
Halsall called it "incredible", le Clos gave it a 10/10 rating, while Hosszu admitted she loves the complex's "new smell".
WHAT: Fina/ Mastbank Swimming World Cup
WHEN: Today and tomorrow
WHERE: OCBC Aquatic Centre
TICKETS: From $31, available at Singpost outlets, the Box Office at the Singapore Indoor Stadium or at www.sportshubtix.sg