South African Chad Le Clos Eyes Commonwealth Games History

South African Olympian Chad Le Clos is on the hunt for his 3rd consecutive 200m butterfly title at this year’s Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia. Even without key rival Joseph Schooling of Singapore among the field, Le Clos still has a fire in his belly for gold – 7 times over.

“The Commonwealth [Games] are very important to me. I am seven medals (away) from the all-time record,” the 25-year-old silver medalist form Rio stated. “If I can get seven medals I will become the most decorated of all time at the Commonwealth Games.” Currently, English shooter Mick Gault and Australian shooter Philip Adams both check-in with 18 Commonwealth Games medals apiece, while Le Clos owns 12 medals from the 2010 and 2014 Games.

Of the prospect of setting himself apart from all other Commonwealth Games competitors, Le Clos says, “It’s nice to get the chance to create a little bit of history along the way, so one day in 20, 30, 40 years’ time, when I have grandkids, I might be able to say, ‘Granddad holds the records for the most amount of medals won and did the treble in the fly’.”

Le Clos is coming off of an enormously successful World Cup run, where the Energy Standard swimmer was named FINA World Cup Champion, an honor he has achieved 4 times throughout his elite career. That helped eased the sting of coming away medal-less in Rio in his pet 200m fly event, although Le Clos did race to silver in the 200m freestyle and was part of a 3-way tie for silver in the 100m butterfly.

“2016 was a difficult year,” Le Clos admits. “I won’t shy away from the mistakes I made but I said I would be back and that I wanted to win the 200m fly at the world championships.”

Le Clos did just that, topping the podium in the men’s 200m butterfly in Budapest last year to become world champion once again. “That was a huge moment in my life, not just in my career. I did it for myself, I did it because I wanted to win. I got obsessed with winning and redeeming myself.”

With the Commonwealth Games now just 8 weeks away, Le Clos is getting his mind right to possibly make history. “It’s all about learning to find comfort under pressure, that is the key to success, learning to deal with all the outside pressures and converting them into a winning formula,” he says. “I think I have got that art down to a tee.”

“It’s probably going be the most difficult Games because the Aussies are extremely hard to beat at home,” said Le Clos. “But I have never really raced in front of a home crowd before so, for me, I am always on enemy soil.

“We (South Africans) are not afraid of things, which I think makes us difficult to beat. A lot of South Africans have that type of character. We are brought up that way, to be strong and bold and go for what we want, that type of attitude where we don’t settle for anything less.”

All quotes courtesy of gc2018.com.

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Eric Lahmy
4 years ago

I don’t really understand this way of thinking. Chad will have the record, if he beats the record, for many reasons, one of them being that the FINA swimming program is oversized and offers possibilities of duplicates and triplicates that did not exist in the past; an other reason is that you can be now a professional of swimming. That said, Chad Le Clos is a very gifted and versatile swimmer. The capacity of a swimmer lo win so many medals indicates, that’s sure, that he is a great athlete, but, too, that the number of events have devalued the value of each medal. I guess Chad Le Clos has many more serious and olympic reasons to be proud of… Read more »

Coach Mike 1952
4 years ago

Though Hungary is not part of the CWG, since the comments expanded to 2020, I’d watch out for Kristof Milak for Toyko, actually. His butterfly is very smooth, & he is still quite young age-wise that is. He swims well, & already goes 1:53.79.

Brownish
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
4 years ago

Let’s imagine we have at least Biczó, Cseh, Kenderesi, Milák and Tekauer (in alphabetical order). They’ll swim against each other for the Europeans, Worlds, and Olympics.

nuotofan
Reply to  Brownish
4 years ago

Yes, Hungarian high level and depth in 200 fly is astonishing.

Brownish
Reply to  nuotofan
4 years ago

To tell the truth without the capability of fairly good starts or turns.

nuotofan
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
4 years ago

Milak, the real WJR holder in the 200 fly, is obviously the most intriguing bet for 2020.
Considering all the promising young European swimmers, next European Champs at Glasgow will be the most interesting I can remember.

Brownish
Reply to  nuotofan
4 years ago

I think the same about Milák. He’ll swim WR there or mostly till then.

Caeleb Dressel Will Get 7 golds in Tokyo
Reply to  Brownish
4 years ago

Brownish, are you Hungarian?

Brownish

Of course. Let’s imagine WE…

Peter
4 years ago

Pretty sure Schooling isn’t swimming the Commies – focusing on Asian Games

Caeleb Dressel Will Get 7 golds in Tokyo
Reply to  Peter
4 years ago

Where he will easily beat anyone

Buona

For 50 and 100 fly, he should be able to win comfortably if nothing goes wrong. 200 fly may be a bit difficult as the japanese swimmers (sakai, daiya seto) are pretty strong.

ellie

The Japanese will easily beat him in 200 fly LOL. Luckily only two swimmers in each country are allowed to compete, or they are highly likely to sweep the podium. Now Schooling still has the chance for bronze.
Even in his signature event 100 fly, he’d better not sleep on Chinese Li Zhuhao, who is young and still improving. He was not far behind Schooling at last year’s World Championships. Schooling needs to give out his best to ensure that he can win the race.

Sum Ting Wong
Reply to  Peter
4 years ago

The Commonwealth nations are a lucrative market for Singapore where total exports far outvalue imports. Its like when you want Chinese take out but China has done something you don’t like so you buy Singapore noodles instead .

In the previous regime he would have been dragged by his ears but he should still go .You have to do a few small things for your country when they pay you $1 million . Surely a sprinter can recover from April to October?

nuotofan
Reply to  Sum Ting Wong
4 years ago

Mid-March, i.e. Ncaa finals, that are the Spring target for Schooling?
I obviously agree: CG and Asian Games would have been a reasonable program for Schooling in this season, like British swimmers have also Euro Champs and Aussie, Canadian, SA Panpacs, but his senior year at Texas suggested him to focus on Ncaa.

Kenneth
Reply to  Sum Ting Wong
4 years ago

Schooling has also mentioned that his exams are in early May, and if he’s taking part in the Commonwealth Games it’s going to affect his preparations for the exams. He’s already delayed his graduation by one semester.

Drama King
4 years ago

What are the events , he focused on CWs?
3 flys and 3 relays,,,, others ???? Free or IM ?

Brownish
Reply to  Drama King
4 years ago

200 free, I think.

Caeleb Dressel Will Get 7 golds in Tokyo
4 years ago

Well, he eyes everything, doesn’t he? Even when he’s swimming.

Reasonabledoubt
4 years ago

No chance schooling beats Le Clos in 200 fly. Schoolings best time is 1:55.7 and Le Clos is 1:52.96. Statistically speaking for schooling to beat Le Clos he would have to drop nearly 3 seconds in a 200 which simply will not happen. That’s simply being delusional.

really?
Reply to  Reasonabledoubt
4 years ago

Le Clos hasnt gone a best time since 2012… and hes only been under 1:54 a few times since. no telling if he will in 8 weeks. Schoolings best is from almost 3 years ago, back when his best short course was 1:39.6, hes dropped almost two seconds since then and didnt swim it last year. Im not saying he will swim it but if he did hes not out of the question for the win

Caeleb Dressel Will Get 7 golds in Tokyo
Reply to  really?
4 years ago

He’s gone 1:53.6 in 2015 and 1:53.3 last year. That’s close enough

Dee
Reply to  Reasonabledoubt
4 years ago

I didn’t know that was Schooling’s PB; Puts him behind Guy and a couple of the likely Aussies on paper in the 200fl.

Reasonabledoubt
Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

Of course I got downvotes for being completely reasonable in time prediction. I’m just saying it’s hard to drop three seconds in a 200 at that high of a level. What did Phelps magically drop from 1:53 to 1:51.5 in 3 years lol?

Dee
Reply to  Reasonabledoubt
4 years ago

I 100% agreed with you; I don’t see 200 being Schoolings home anymore. He’d probably break 1.55; But breaking 1.54 would be unrealistic.

Caeleb Dressel Will Get 7 golds in Tokyo
Reply to  Reasonabledoubt
4 years ago

Actually Phelps did lol.
2003: 1:53.93
2004: 1:54.04
2005: 1:54.6?
2006: 1:53.80
2007 : 1:52.09
2008 : 1:52.03 (blind)
2009: 1:51.51
Not saying Schooling will go 1:53 though. If he trained hard for it, maybe in 2020, but now he would be 1:55 probably.

Buona
4 years ago

He should focus more on World Championships and Olympic Games. Nobody will care how many gold medals u win in CG. Without Schooling, the competition for the fly is not there. I do hope Schooling will swim the 200 fly in 2019 worlds and 2020 olympics. Most probably he will swim in this year Asian Games. If he put in a lot of work for the 200 fly, le clos may find it difficult.

Pvdh
Reply to  Buona
4 years ago

Schoolings pb in the 200 fly is a 1:55.7 and there are several younger 200 flyers already ahead of him. His time in that event is up. He has to focus solely on 100 fly if he wants a chance at even a bronze in Tokyo

really?
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

Schooling was 1:56.6 when he was 16 and his PB 1:55.7 is from almost 3 years ago. hes never focused on it LCM so we dont know what he can do in it yet. I could see a 1:53 high if he swam it tapered. that should be in the running for a win at CW

Pvdh
Reply to  really?
4 years ago

You think a guy who hasn’t done the 200 fly in 3 years can just magically step back Into it like that? He doesn’t have the aerobic base to get back into the event. You can even see him start to get choppy finishing a 100 fly. He didn’t have the base to keep up with his 100 fly top time after a couple of months off, there’s no way he’d succeed in the 200 fly.

sven
Reply to  Buona
4 years ago

One could also argue, though, that getting fired up for CWG helps stay motivated in that mid-quad, two year drag between World Champs . It’s hard for many people to stay fully motivated when the next meet “worthy” of their focus is two years away. Focusing on CWG won’t hurt him in terms of World Champs or Olympics, so if this is what keeps him working hard this year, more power to him.

Scott Morgan
Reply to  sven
4 years ago

I totally agree. I’d say it is the ones who argue that CGs — or any multi-national competitive gathering of elite a-team squads — are unimportant or a waste of time that have some explaining to do. What else is a waste of time? Euros, PanPacs, PanAms?

commonwombat
Reply to  Scott Morgan
4 years ago

Where a lot of the criticism comes from is the precedence that some swimmers place on CGs, not necessarily stating that they should or should not compete at them.

For the Brits, Euros are held in the same year. When CG are held in the Northern Hemisphere summer and within reasonable date proximity to Euros then its practicable to target them in the same preparation. However, Euros SHOULD be seen as the peak priority quite simply due to the higher competition standard across the board.

For CAN, it is already clear that PP will be the prioritized meet given their NCAA swimmers have been green-lighted to miss CG. For Le Clos, he is in the position of being one… Read more »

Caeleb Dressel Will Get 7 golds in Tokyo
Reply to  Buona
4 years ago

Nobody will care? You mean only swim swam people who think you need to get a gold medal at the Olympics and the fastest textile ever to be a good swimmer.

Drama King
Reply to  Buona
4 years ago

If the race is on a practice pool, then Schooling might have a chance , otherwise it will be down to stomache….

Buona
Reply to  Buona
4 years ago

Why not. Is depending whether he wants to do it. I am sure he can. Leading up to rio, he prepared himself a target board. 100 fly: 50.1, 200 fly: 1:52 so i feel he somehow can achieve near to this time. Not necessarily he will win but medal at this event isn’t too difficult for him.

Brownish
Reply to  Buona
4 years ago

After Milák or Kenderesi or Laci or…

Caeleb Dressel Will Get 7 golds in Tokyo
Reply to  Brownish
4 years ago

Brownish, give it up. Cash won’t ever beat Chad again

Brownish

Cseh. And will 🙂

Pvdh
4 years ago

I feel likes he’s overstating the importance of the CG games…by a lot. If schoolings out, his path to more medals becomes a lot easier. James Guy is all that’s left.

Captain Awesome
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

Ben Proud in the 50 is a pretty big obstacle too.

Honest observer
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

James Guy will likely not prevent le Clos from medaling, though he might change the color of one or two those medals. (Since the topic of this article is primarily about the overall number of medals, as opposed to their hue.)

Sum Ting Wong
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

He said the CW were important to him . Although its not ‘at home’ there will be a lot of SAfrican expats , as there will be English , Welsh & Scottish & Kiwis in the stands & around town .

Its an open air facility & tho early autumn , there has been wild weather sometimes , it could be just a perfect meet . There only about 7 events where there are not World or Olympic medallists competing ..There are 5 Olympic individual Champs competing , one Olympi c champ team , 9 Olympic indiv medallists , 6 relay medal team medallists . For World champs I see 8 World indiv champs & 2 relay teams &… Read more »

Scott Morgan
Reply to  Sum Ting Wong
4 years ago

Agreed. Important meets span well beyond WC & Olympics. I see no reason to dismiss an athlete’s goals or downplay any major international meeting.

Scott Morgan
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

PVDH, I would say it seems obvious that the CG Games are important to HIM. And I’ve yet to hear it said that a major International Games in mid-quadrennial is unimportant. I think you may yourself be understating these games a touch, both the range of possible competitors/challengers Le Clos and others will face AND their importance.

Drama King
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

I see one or two Australians trying to get into the podiums at home. Normally they swim fast at home. Ervine and Morgan will be the top candidates .

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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