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2016 AFRICA MALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: CHAD LE CLOS
For the 2nd consecutive year, Chad Le Clos of South Africa has earned the Swammy Award for African Male Swimmer of the Year. As in the past, Le Clos proved he is the fastest man on the continent and beyond, taking another two silver medals at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Although Le Clos fell short in the men’s 200m butterfly event, garnering 4th in the race in which he won gold in 2012, the 24-year-old surprised a super stacked men’s 200m freestyle field with a runner-up performance. Throwing down a gutsy opening 50m split of 23.39, Le Clos led the men’s 2free pack through the final 50m, where Chinese champion Sun Yang overtook the young stud for gold. However, Le Clos’ silver medal-garnering time of 1:45.20 clocked a new African Record and gives Le Clos another event in which he can threaten would-be champions everywhere for the next several years.
Le Clos was also a part of the history-making triple tie for silver in the 100m butterfly event in Rio. While Singapore’s Joseph Schooling slammed his way to victory, Le Clos tied American Michael Phelps and Hungarian Laszlo Cseh for silver, a fitting end to the Olympic competition in that the trio have been fierce competitors throughout their careers.
Post-Rio, Le Clos kept chipping away at his short course best times, becoming the first man to win 100 golds in his career over the FINA World Cup circuit. While competing at the FINA Short Course World Championships, Le Clos fired off a new World Record in the 100m butterfly, crushing a time of 48.08 to become the fastest performer of all-time.
In no particular order
- Cameron van der Burgh, South Africa – Mainstay breaststroker ‘VDB’ of South Africa was up against the World Record Holder Adam Peaty of Great Britain in the men’s 100m breaststroke final in Rio. Although the 28-year-old couldn’t repeat his 2012 Olympic gold medal result, VDB did notch a swift time of 58.69 for a silver medal and continue his Olympic podium streak.
- Brad Tandy, South Africa – Tandy took a measured approach to his sole Olympic event, the men’s 50m freestyle, progressively getting faster as the splash n’ dash rounds continued. In the Olympic final, 25-year-old former Arizona Wildcat wound up 6th overall, registering a personal best time of 21.79, just .08 of a second off of the South African National Record.
- Marwan el Kamash, Egypt – Egyptian swimming is entering a golden era. Thanks primarily to their best swimmers training in the United States, at a few hubs like Indiana, the country’s swimming times have exploded to the point where at least an African Championship becomes a little more interesting than a South African sweep. While the Olympic podiums weren’t there yet in 2016, they had 3 pool swims finish in the top 16 at the Olympics. Compare that to four years earlier, when they had two swimmers enter one race each, with neither placing higher than 34th, and the leaps are astonishing. Egypt had a lot of good Olympic results, but we’ve chosen El-Kamash as a representative of what the whole country accomplished on the strength of his long course National Records in the 200 (1:47.52) and 400 (3:47.43) meter freestyles – both of which were achieved in Rio.