2015 Male African Swimmer of the Year: Chad Le Clos
Chad le Clos, South Africa’s premiere butterflyer, has been awarded the 2015 Swammy Award for the African Male Swimmer of the Year. The South African Olympic gold medalist wins the nomination over some of his countrymen based on his standout butterfly performances over the course of this year, specifically races that have gained him global recognition for challenging Michael Phelps in and out of the pool. It comes as no surprise le Clos is vying for butterfly supremacy in light of his London 2012 gold medal in the 200m fly and his persistence to dethrone the world’s most decorated Olympian in the same stroke.
In April of this year, le Clos cruised a 1:56.13 to win the 200m fly at the South African Nationals and in turn was selected as one of five slots for the South African Kazan Worlds team. While not normally seen as a freestyle contender, le Clos found himself swimming in the final of the 200m free in Kazan placing 6th overall and winning the 100m free at the World Cup in Doha in place of an absent Yannick Agnel. That same night le Clos picked up another international victory in the 200m fly with his mark of 1:55.80.
He then blasted the 100m fly for his second consecutive Worlds title and very briefly setting the world’s fastest 2015 time, a new African National record, and the second fastest time in textile at 50.56. That final was a highlight in its own right with le Clos, Laszlo Cseh, and Joseph Schooling all touching in under 51 seconds.
The South African’s glory was short-lived as Phelps clocked a 50.45 to reset the world’s quickest time at the U.S. National Championships in San Antonio, a mark that pushed le Clos to issue comments to media outlets worldwide announcing statements such as “I am not afraid of Michael Phelps” and “I just did a time that [Phelps] hasn’t done in four years, so he can keep quiet now.”
Currently, le Clos’ Kazan 1:53.68 200m fly sits third in the world behind Cseh’s 1:53.48 and Phelps’ 1:52.94. SwimSwam bestows the Swammy Award for the African Male Swimmer of the Year because he happens to be one of South Africa’s strongest competitors in addition to giving an Olympic legend a run for his money. With the clock counting down to Rio 2016, the stakes are high between the South African stud, Phelps’ second coming, and Euro short course champ Cseh competing for the Olympic crown to settle the score between the butterfly heavyweights.
Cameron van der Burgh, South Africa
- Set world record in 50m breast at Kazan Worlds
- FINA World Cup Male Title
Chad Ho, South Africa
- Men’s 5K Open Water World Title
Ahmed Akram, Egypt
- Egyptian 400m free National Record