December 12.2016


Chad le Clos enjoyed a weekend to remember at the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships in Windsor, Canada, as the South African superstar won world titles in the 50m, 100m and 200m fly, a silver in the 200m free, as well as setting a new world record in the 100m butterfly. 

The highlight of an already superb Championships for Chad was undoubtedly his performance in the 100m butterfly, with the 24-year-old shaving a huge 0.36 seconds off his previous time to finish in 48.08 seconds — so nearly becoming the first swimmer in history to dip below a time of 48 seconds.

The media immediately heralded his performance as one of the finest of his glittering career, which includes Olympic, World and Commonwealth titles.

Even Chad was surprised at how emphatic his victory was. “I didn’t expect to go that fast,” he told The Star after the event, his first gold of these championships.

“I would have taken a 48.6, 48.7 and just get the win but 48.0 is fantastic and I am very happy with that.”

Next up was glory in the 200m fly, before the Olympic champion also threatened to break his championship record in the 50m butterfly final, en route to another gold medal.

After a lightening start Chad came home in a time of 21.98 — the only sub-22 second swim of the night and only 0.03 seconds off his own record. A silver medal in the 200m free was to follow, with Chad coming close to replicating his stunning performance at the 2014 Championships in Doha, where he became the first man to win the 50m, 100m and 200m fly titles as well as claiming 200m freestyle gold.

Needless to say, Chad was delighted with his weekend's work.

“In terms of my other performances I would say the Olympic gold in 2012 was obviously the best, maybe the fly treble in 2014 was second best and I would say this is definitely in the top three,” he told the South African media.

“The performance was huge for both my family and myself. There was a lot of hype and lot of pressure on that race and I think to bounce back like that was really good for me.”

Chad’s medal rush also helped to end his occasionally frustrating season — he finished 4th in the 200m butterfly final at the Rio 2016 Olympics in a race he has called the worst of his career — on a high.

“It’s been a long few months since Rio, and I am still disappointed. But I've redeemed myself with my performances here in Canada and I'm very happy,” he explained.

“I’ve always said, 'judge when my back is against the wall' and I bounced back like a champion; that is important to me.”

Chad shot to international stardom when he pulled off the ‘unbelievable’ feat of beating Michael Phelps to Olympic gold at the London 2012 olympics aged just 20.

Four years later, Professional Sports Group, in association with OneToWatch productions, released a documentary on Chad’s life as he prepared for the Rio Olympics.

Unbelievable was directed by British Olympic legend Sir Matthew Pinsent, and is available to watch both below and on YouTube.


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