‘Gold … for … Chad’: old school in a frenzy after Olympics triumph

2012-08-02 00:00

WHEN Chad le Clos was just eight, his first swimming teacher realised she could not offer him the coaching his talent needed.

In his first season swimming at Penzance Primary School in Durban, teacher Lindsay Manthey advised his parents to take him to top coach Graham Hill.

Hill, who is still Le Clos’s coach, was already making his mark as a Springbok and coached Terence Parkin.

“Chad swam faster than the other children. He also trained harder than the others and was more determined,” Manthey said yesterday.

“No one expected that he would win a medal at his first

Olympics. But because I knew how determined he was, I knew he would put in 300%.”

She was glued to the television, screaming, as Le Clos swam to gold ahead of Michael Phelps in the 200 m butterfly on Tuesday evening.

Trevor Hall, head of Le Clos’s old school, Westville Boys’ High, said he was shaking with excitement after the 20-year-old’s win.

“One can truly say it is the greatest achievement by a single South African athlete yet,” he said yesterday, declaring “Chad le Clos Day” at the school.

The 1 300 pupils took the roof off the hall with a new warcry: “Gold … for … Chad!”.

And at Penzance Primary, the pupils wore special Chad le Clos T-shirts.

Tea-maker Ellen Khanyile remembered a little boy who was already “like a grown-up” and used to help her carry heavy things.

“I’ve been at the school for 22 years and I’ve never met anyone like him,” she said.

“When I saw him on TV winning, I cried and cried and cried. I couldn’t sleep.”

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