Chad le Clos’ Decade of Greatness

 

Highlighting a decade of greatness, Chad le Clos emerged as the most decorated South African swimmer of all time by stepping onto the podium at major events each year since making his international debut.

2009:

Le Clos makes his senior debut at the 2009 FINA World Long-Course Championships in Rome where he finishes 17th overall in the 200m butterfly and 16th in the 400m individual medley.

 

2010: 

He announces himself to the world, winning double gold at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, by racing to victory in championship records in the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley.

Le Clos wins his first senior global title by winning the 200m butterfly gold medal at the World Short-Course Championships in Dubai.

 

2011: 

Sounding a warning ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Le Clos makes it into his maiden final at the World Long-Course Championships in Shanghai. He finishes fifth in the 200m butterfly event. 

The Discovery Vitality brand ambassador wins his first Swimming World Cup Series title, and makes regular visits onto the podium in the short-course pool.

 

2012: 

The golden boy of South African swimming stuns American legend Michael Phelps to win the 200m butterfly gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The 20-year-old Le Clos out-touches Phelps by just 0.05 seconds, bringing the country to its feet, posting a new national record of 1:52.96.

Three days later, Phelps narrowly beats him to the wall with Le Clos earning the 100m butterfly silver medal to confirm his meteoric rise in the world swimming ranks.

 

2013: 

Le Clos affirms his status as the heir apparent to Phelps’ throne, winning both the 100m and 200m butterfly gold medals at the World Long-Course Championships in Barcelona. He becomes the first South African swimmer to win two events in the same discipline at the global showpiece. Le Clos wins the overall Swimming World Cup Series title for the second time.

 

2014: 

Adding to his growing legend, Le Clos becomes the joint most decorated South African swimmer at the Commonwealth Games.

He bows out of the Glasgow Games with four individual medals – gold in the 100m and 200m butterfly, bronze in the 50m butterfly and 200m individual medley – and three as part of the relay teams. The 22-year-old extends his tally to 12 medals stretching over two Games, which include the five medals from Delhi.

Le Clos wins a record four gold medals at the World Short-Course Championships in Doha where he becomes the first swimmer to win the 50m, 100m, and 200m butterfly titles, while adding the 200m freestyle gold. He breaks the world 100m butterfly record with a time of 48.44 seconds. 

He is named the FINA Swimmer of the Year after also winning back-to-back Swimming World Cup titles. 

 

2015: 

Le Clos suffers a shock defeat to Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh in his favourite 200m butterfly event at the 2015 World Long-Course Championships in Kazan, Russia. This is his first defeat at a major championship since London 2012. He still manages to get onto the podium by winning silver behind Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh.

The Discovery Vitality Ambassador makes up for the disappointment by winning a second consecutive 100m butterfly title.

 

2016: 

He becomes the first South African in any sport to win more than three medals at the Olympics, claiming silver in the 100m butterfly at the Rio 2016 Games. Le Clos finishes second in the 200m freestyle final hitting the wall in a new continental record time of 1:45.20.

Later in the year, he wins a rare back-to-back clean sweep of the butterfly events at the World Short-Course Championships in Windsor, Canada, while adding the 200m freestyle silver.

 

2017: 

Like a phoenix, Le Clos rises out of the ashes as the comeback king, reclaiming his 200m butterfly title at the World Long-Course Championships in Budapest, Hungary. He races to victory in a time of 1:53.33, touching the wall first in his fastest time since beating Phelps at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He becomes the first male swimmer to win a record fourth overall Swimming World Cup Series title adding to his accolades from 2011, 2013 and 2014.

 

2018: 

Le Clos is crowned 2018 FINA Male Swimmer of the Year for the second time in his career, marking a stunning season. He becomes the most decorated swimmer at the Commonwealth Games, adding five medals to his 12 from Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014. Le Clos is also the first man to win the butterfly treble at the Games, bagging the gold over the 50m, 100m, and 200m distances.

At the World Short-Course Swimming Championships in Hangzhou, China, he wins four individual medals including the 100m butterfly gold medal.

Le Clos wins his fourth consecutive 100m butterfly title, while he also bags the 50m and 200m butterfly silver medals and adding the 100m freestyle bronze.

 

2019: 

Highlighting his decade of greatness, Le Clos steps onto the podium for a fourth consecutive World Long-Course Championship. He wins the 100m and 200m butterfly bronze medals, despite a niggling groin hernia. His performance from the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, increases his haul to seven since 2013 – four gold, silver and two bronze.

Earlier in the year, Le Clos is named on Forbes Africa’s prestigious 5th edition of its ’30 Under 30’ list, joining fellow Discovery Vitality Ambassador, Caster Semenya.

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