Chad Le Clos, 2013 SwimSwam Swammy Male Swimmer of the Year Award Winner

  2 Braden Keith | January 10th, 2014 | 2013 Swammy Awards, Featured, International, National, News

Excluding the hokey-pokey nonsense of the new 200 meter relay record, there was only a single event in which the men’s World Record was broken, and that was in the 200 Short Course Meters butterfly.

The swimmer that broke that record is Chad le Clos, and stacked up along the rest of his 2013 accomplishments, was good enough to win his first ever Swammy award for Male Swimmer of the Year in 2013.

2013 was an important year for le Clos. After 2012, his international fame grew as ‘the man who beat Phelps in the 200 fly at the Olympics.” The signs of his sudden stardom were everywhere. he was named an official ambassador for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, won awards-on-awards-on-awards, and took Phelps’ place as the official poster-boy of Omega Timing – a spot that had previously been held by the great Phelps.

And as his stardom rose, he did not disappoint in the pool, either. He swept the Olympic butterfly races at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships, winning the 100 fly in 51.06 and the 200 fly in 1:54.32.

In addition, his 24 wins at the FINA World Cup Series were the most of any male athlete (5 more than Vlad Morozov). He also broke the South African National Record in the 100 fly in long course and short course, and of course there was the aforementioned 200 fly SCM World Record which he swam in 1:48.56 at the Singapore stop of the World Cup Series. That World Record was particularly impressive because of the timing: most of the SCM World Records came early in the World Cup, in Berlin or Eindhoven when everyone was still feeling pretty fresh coming off of the World Championships.

Le Clos’ World Record came on November 5th – rebreaking his own record done in Eindhoven by half-a-second. The timing of that swim makes it all-the-more impressive.

Unless/until Phelps returns, Le Clos seems to be in command of the world’s butterfly scene. He’ll certainly go unchallenged at the Commonwealth Games next year, as no other Commonwealth butterflier even semi-finaled at Worlds. He’ll probably have to do more than just win those two races at that meet next year to repeat, however. He’ll have a chance against the Chinese and American butterfliers at the Pan Pac Championships as well, and further has shown the propensity to really broaden his events next year.

Expect him to challenge for at least 5 individual titles, perhaps, in Scotland next year at the CG’s before settling things back in for Pan Pacs.

Honorable Mentions:

Sun Yang – the only man to win three individual golds at the World Championships, Sun’s drama-filled year out of the pool can’t inhibit what he did in the water. He swept the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyles at Worlds, and between his various meets showed some unprecedented speed as well. If his gold-medal winning times at Worlds were closer to his bests, he probably would’ve taken this award.

Vlad Morozov - Though his Worlds medal count wasn’t as big as the other men on this list, Morozov did win a silver in the 50 free in Barcelona and broke Alex Popov’s National Record in the process. He was part of what was an overall incredible year for the Russian Federation, won 21 World Cup races, and took Europe to task with 7 gold medals at the 2013 European Championships (50 free, 100 free, 100 IM, and all four relays). Morozov completed his peripheral resume with an incredible NCAA Championship meet in March, swimming the fastest 100 yard freestyle in history, and the fastest 50 yard freestyle from a relay split in history (he was a 17!).

Ryan Lochte - Lost in the knee injury and the reality TV and the overall transformation of Ryan Lochte into a global brand was the fact that he actually had a very, very good year. He won World Championships in the 200 back and the 200 IM, including running away with a 200 IM: taking both titles in what had seemed to be very, very deep fields.

Though he came up short of the podium in the 200 free, he did add a silver in the 400 free relay and a gold in the 800 free relay as a member of the finals teams, though a DQ kept him from another relay gold. While it’s hard to weigh his relay opportunities on the American team as heavily as we would individual medals, it still was more swims that Lochte had to put on his crowded schedule. He also was the victor of the 2012-2013 USA Swimming Grand Prix series on the men’s side.

Comments

  1. aswimfan says:
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    After Katinka Hosszu was announced as Swimswam’s Female swimmer of the year (personally, Ledecly is my choice), it was predictable that Le Clos would get the title for the men.
    Not that I disagree with it, in fact, Le Clos would also be my personal choice, even if by not much (against Yang and Lochte).

    Yang was in stronger position in terms of individual worlds golds (3), with similar winning times quality (979, 941, 966 FINA Points for 400/800/1500 free respectively) compared to
    Lochte (952 and 975 for 200 back/IM), While le Clos only got 928 each for both 100/200 fly.

    However, I think relying on FINA points alone to measure quality between swims across different distances and strokes is rather flawed, favoring swims in less competitive events.

    Lochte has additional relay medals (gold in 4×200 and silver in 4×10 free) while Yang has a bronze from 4×200. However, we know that had le Clos swum for USA for example, he would have been part for 4×100 medley (which didnt really mater anyway as USA was DQed) and most likely 4×200 as well (Although he is a strong 200 swimmer,Le Clos didn’t actually swim much 200 free LCM in the past two years, as RSA cannot field 4×200 free, but in early 2012 he was already at 1:47.2 and swam 1:42.2 SCM in Singapore World Cup).

    Now, any disadvantages le Clos had against Yang and Lochte from Barcelona, he had more than made up later by truly dominating the short course season. Unlike in the womens events where Ledecky’s Worlds achievement was towering and certainly historical and thus making choice of Hosszu as the swimswam female swimmer of the year was a bit difficult, Men’s achievments this year across the board was ho hum. And Le Clos’ WR is especially the thing that tip the balance to his favor.
    When was the last time that only ONE WR (LCM and SCM) in mens swimming was broken for the whole year? (Or there has even been any since the SCM records are officially regonised)

    I hope Le Close carry his great momentum to the new year. He extremely very talented, however for some reason I don

  2. aswimfan says:
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    Please ignore my post above. I accidentally clicked on post comment before I made edits.

    After Katinka Hosszu was announced as Swimswam’s Female swimmer of the year (personally, Ledecly is my choice although I do understand that Hosszu ‘s super domination of the World Cup series may be unprecedented, in addition to several WRs and second fastest textile times for her two Barcelona Golds), it was predictable that Le Clos would get the title for the men. And I quite like the idea that Swimswam take a differecent approach than the traditionals one measurement most pundits use: highest quality LCM swims and individual golds at the the major (ie. Worlds)

    Not that I disagree with it, in fact, Le Clos would also be my personal choice, even if by not much (against Yang and Lochte).

    If this year was any thing like any other years, Yang would win it. Yang was in stronger position in terms of individual worlds golds (3), with similar winning times quality (979, 941, 966 FINA Points for 400/800/1500 free respectively) compared to Lochte (952 and 975 for 200 back/IM), while le Clos winning times are given 928 FINA points for both 100/200 fly.
    However, I think relying on FINA points alone to measure quality between swims across different distances and strokes is rather flawed, favoring swims in less competitive events.
    The abysmal state (compared to womens) among mens swimming across the board this year work as equalizer, when only three male swimmers went under previous textile WRs (Cielo in 50 free, and VD Burgh and Sprenger in 50 breast). So records are very very valuable this year among the men.

    Lochte additionally has won relay medals (gold in 4×200 and silver in 4×10 free) while Yang has a bronze from 4×200. However, we know that had le Clos swum for USA for example, he would have been part for 4×100 medley (which didnt really mater anyway as USA was DQed) and most likely be a part of the 4×200 as well (Although he is a strong 200 swimmer, Le Clos didn’t actually swim much 200 free LCM in the past two years, as RSA cannot field 4×200 free, but in early 2012 he was already at 1:47.2 and swam 1:42.2 SCM in Singapore World Cup. Based on these facts, it would be quite prudent to say that he can swim 1:45 200 free).

    Now, any disadvantages le Clos had against Yang and Lochte from Barcelona results, he had more than made up later by truly dominating the short course season and breaking two WRs records in the process. Unlike in the womens events where Ledecky’s Worlds achievement was towering and certainly historical and thus making choice of Hosszu as the swimswam female swimmer of the year was a bit difficult, Men’s achievments last year across the board was ho hum. And for that, Le Clos’ two WRs were such a special thing which tip the balance to his favor.

    By the way, when was the last time that for one whole year, only world record i(LCM or SCM) n one men’s event broken?

    I hope Le Close can carry his great momentum to the new year. He is extremely very talented, however for some reason, I have a sense that he has not done his very best to really realize his talents into achievements.

    Looking ahead at the the 2014 Commonwealth Games, he can collect 100/200 fly golds, but if he decides to swim IM as well, he will face quite stiff challenge from Australia (Daniel Tranter, Justin James, Kenneth To) and England (Roberto Pavoni, Joe Robuck, Euan Loyyd), In 400 IM is not easier even: Thomas Fraser Holmes, and his own country man Roberto Rosseau. If he decides to swim 200 free, he’ll face the likes of Fraser-Holmes, McEvoy, McKeon, and Robbie Renwick. Therefore I am not quite as optimistic in predicting Le Clos challenging title in 5 events. Le Clos’ PBs in 200 /400 IM are 1:58.4 and 4:12.24 which are slower than his Commonwealth Games competitors. But of course those PBs were recorded in 2012 London, of which he can easily already surpass it.

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