Chad the conqueror returns

2013-08-14 00:00

IT keeps getting better and better for Durban’s golden boy Chad le Clos. The 21-year-old swimmer had flashbacks of his 2012 London Olympics success yesterday when hundreds of fans greeted him O.R. Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, following a fortnight that saw him enhance his already impressive resumé.

Le Clos won both the 100 m and 200 m butterfly at the World Championships in Barcelona before coolly setting a new world record in the men’s 200 m butterfly at the short course Swimming World Cup challenge in Eindhoven a week later.

And while most in Le Clos’s position would be dead keen to hit the town to flaunt their achievements, the Westville Boys’ High School product spent his first hours back in KwaZulu-Natal jamming on a Playstation at his sister Bianca’s house.

“It obviously wasn’t as big as the Olympics, but it was great to have that kind of reception again,” a bubbly Le Clos told The Witness of his Johannesburg arrival. “The support from back home on Facebook and Twitter was phenomenal.”

An underdog in London and up against the great Michael Phelps, Le Clos said that he was accompanied by a different kind of feeling over the last couple of weeks.

“[Michael] Phelps had that aura about him, and I kind of missed that,” he said of his hero. “This time around people were expecting me to win so there was a lot more pressure. That kind of makes it even more special, though.”

Now undoubtedly the best in the world in his discipline, Le Clos said he would take a couple of weeks off before starting training again.

Le Clos congratulated fellow World Champs gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh on his success, adding that the pair’s continued triumphs in the pool could only be good for swimming in South Africa.

“We have been in the SA team together for a really long time now,” said Le Clos. “We are really good friends and we both hope that the work we do in the pool can help grow a generation of young swimmers.”

Outside of butterfly, Le Clos said he had plans to focus on medley events, after his silver in the second leg of the World Cup Series in Berlin over the weekend that capped off a packed two weeks.

“It is a positive step for me in the right direction and I need to improve in a lot of things,” Le Clos said.

“My backstroke is semi there and my breaststroke is a long way off.”

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