‘Chad did something so special for swimming’

2012-08-10 00:00

THERE were people from strikingly diverse backgrounds welcoming Chad le Clos back to Durban at King Shaka International Airport yesterday afternoon. From Westville Boys’ High pupils to extended family and friends, to those who had been moved by his achievement in London — there were people from everywhere.

Delon Danhauser, Le Clos’s coach at Seagulls Swimming Club, was one of those in the crowd. He has worked with Le Clos for three and a half years and couldn’t hide his pride.

“We had a feeling that he would do well, but to beat a guy like [Michael] Phelps is truly remarkable,” he told The Witness.

“That boy has something special, something phenomenal when he is in the water. To have been around that every day really is an honour.”

Westville High swimming captain Marno Langevedlt was equally moved. He described what the day after Le Clos’s gold was like at school.

“Everyone was going crazy. We had a special assembly for him and we did war cries — the atmosphere was phenomenal,” the Grade 12 pupil said.

Langeveldt distinctly remembers watching Le Clos, who himself was captain of the swimming team, swim when he was younger.

“He has always been that good, I can’t remember a time when he wasn’t winning,” added Langeveldt.

“It is such an honour to be captain of the team after he was.

“He has done something so special for swimming and already there are other kids showing more of an interest in the sport.”

For Jeano Makhanya, the trip to the airport required a lot of planning.

She was part of a group of around 120 women from Durban’s Wellness Football Association.

Singing and dancing her way through proceedings, Makhanya was full of praise for KZN’s golden boy.

“I watched him on the TV and we are so lucky to have somebody like that from our province. We all decided that we had to come and welcome him home — he is our boy,” she said.

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