Le Clos finally gets to compete in his dream event
South African swimming’s golden boy Chad Le Clos will finally live his dream at the Commonwealth Games when he races in swimming’s blue riband event.
Le Clos will take part in 100m freestyle‚ the one contest he had always dreamed of‚ but had been prevented from because of a clash of schedules.
The addition of this event to his schedule means Le Clos is shooting for a magnificent set of seven gongs in Gold Coast as he aims to become the most decorated Commonwealth Games medallist of all-time.
Retired shooters Mick Gault of England and Australian Phillip Adams hold the record of 18‚ although they took six Games to accumulate.
Le Clos‚ with 12 pieces of silverware from his two previous Commonwealth expeditions‚ took seven last time around at Glasgow 2014‚ but that included three relay medals.
This time SA hasn’t entered the men’s 4x200m relay‚ which means Le Clos is doing five individual events.
SA’s most decorated Olympic medallist with four pieces of silverware had initially thought he would once again have to give this event a miss because the semifinals were scheduled just before the final of his premier 200m butterfly event.
But once it was moved to after the ’fly final‚ Le Clos leapt at the opportunity to have a fling with destiny.
“I didn’t know the schedule changed less than a month ago‚ so I wasn’t preparing for the 100m freestyle at all‚” said Le Clos.
“Now it’s 45 minutes after [the 200m butterfly final on Saturday night] which suits me perfectly so I’m definitely going to be doing the 100m freestyle and I’m looking forward to it.”
South Africa hasn’t had a medallist in the men’s 100m freestyle at a major gala since the 2006 Melbourne Games when Ryk Neethling and Roland Schoeman took silver and bronze.
In fact‚ no South African has ever landed gold in this event at a Commonwealth Games or any other top gala‚ for that matter.
And Le Clos won’t have it easy‚ going up against Australia’s Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers and countryman Cameron McEvoy‚ who made two podiums at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I always wanted to race 100m freestyle against top opposition‚ shaved and tapered and rested so this is the first time I’m doing that ever‚” Le Clos told TimesLIVE. “I’m hoping to challenge for the podium there.”
His hectic schedule comprises the three butterfly races over 50m‚ 100m and 200m‚ the 100m and 200m freestyle as well as the 4x100m freestyle and medley relays.
Le Clos dives into action on Thursday morning in the 50m butterfly heats‚ but his medal hunt will kick off with a potential surge of three gongs on Friday — the 50m ’fly‚ 200m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay.
On Saturday is the 200m butterfly final as well as the 100m freestyle heats and semifinals.
He’ll have the 100m freestyle final as well as the 100m ’fly heats and semifinals on Sunday‚ and will close with the 100m butterfly final on Monday and the 4x100m medley relay next Tuesday.