After an outstanding performance in Doha Chad le Clos returned home on Tuesday and was greeted by a few hundred fans at the Durban airport that could be heard chanting his name with great pride.
“These moments in my life never get any easier to comprehend and they will stay with me forever,” le Clos told SuperSport.
“It’s crazy to think a few years ago I was a kid and now I’ve risen to become the best swimmer in the world. I’m honoured and truly humbled.”
“It has been incredible, just looking at this reception at the airport, it feels like London all over again.”
le Clos has had an incredible season first dominating in the World Cup events going undefeated, taking 27 events in total. He received FINA’s Swimmer of the Year honour and last week in Doha at the World Short Course Championships the South African collected four gold winning the 50, 100 and 200 butterfly as well as the 200 freestyle.
“It was my goal to be the best swimmer in the world at some point in my career. I just didn’t think it would happen already,” le Clos told iolSport.
“There is a lot of reward – leave the financial, I’m talking about the prestige. I can’t get used to it. I’m just so honoured, this year has been an incredible journey,” he said. “I thank everyone in South Africa for the support and I promise to keep up the momentum.”
With his four wins in Doha le Clos also became the most most successful South African at a significant international event, a mark that had been set by Ryk Neethling who won three gold at the 2006 World Short Course Championships.
le Clos will return to competition next week swimming at the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Championships after which he will take some time away from the pool before starting his preparation for the World Championships in Kazan.