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.