With a two new national records, a world record, a pair of individual golds last summer, and the FINA World Cup men’s title, we’ve named Chad le Clos the 2013 Male African Swimmer of the Year.
At the 2013 FINA World Championships this summer, le Clos was a double winner in the men’s butterfly events. The South African started off the meet with a poor 50 meter butterfly, finishing a disappointing 23rd. He rebounded, however, capturing the 200 butterfly on night four in 1:54.32, nearly a second ahead of Polish runner-up Pawel Korzeniowski. Three nights later, le Clos took home the 100 butterfly in a national record time of 51.06.
Despite his successful summer, le Clos didn’t let off the gas once the fall season rolled around, competing and winning all three Clusters (Europe, Middle East, and Asia) to claim the high point title in the 2013 FINA Swimming World Cup. Between his event winnings, cluster bonuses, and world record bonuses (he set the world record in the short course 200 meter butterfly twice), le Clos netted over $300,000 for his efforts.
In addition to his performance in the pool, le Clos also replaced the great Michael Phelps as the cover model on the Omega Timing website, a post Phelps had held for years.
Although le Clos set himself apart from the competition, cases could have been made for Roland Schoeman and Cameron van der Burgh. The 33 years young Schoeman tied his own continental record in the long course 50 meter freestyle in semifinals at Worlds last summer, touching in 21.67. Van der Burgh won two medals of his own at Worlds, reclaiming his 50 meter breaststroke title after finishing third in 2011 (Felipe Silva was victories two years ago), and finishing second in the 100 meter breaststroke, just 0.18 behind Australia’s Christian Sprenger.