Chad: Rio 200m fly race was 'worst of my career'

16 October 2016 - 01:57 By DAVID ISAACSON


Chad le Clos is seeking redemption after his 200m butterfly failure at the Rio Games. "It still haunts me," Le Clos said ahead of the African championships in Bloemfontein which kick off today.South Africa's most prolific Olympic medal winner with four gongs will compete probably only in the 100m butterfly race tomorrow in a gala dominated by South Africa since returning from isolation in the early 1990s.At the most recent continental showdown, the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, South Africa lifted 25 of the 42 gold medals on offer, with Egypt next best on 11.Le Clos must be in Singapore by Friday to race out the final three legs of the World Cup series ahead of the world short-course (25m pool) championships in Canada in December.But for redemption, he will have to wait for the world long-course championships, held in a 50m Olympic-sized pool, in Budapest, Hungary, next year.The pain of finishing fourth in Rio behind Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly - four years after beating the American legend in spectacular fashion - is lingering."It was hard. You know how excited I was for that race," said Le Clos, who had won Olympic silver in the 200m freestyle the night before."A one-and-a-half second, two second PB [personal best in the freestyle], there was just no ways in my mind I'm losing the 200m fly the next night."I see it as one bad race in six years on the big stage. One horrendous race. It's the worst race of my career, it'll always be."Le Clos clocked 1min 54.06sec in the final, a time he describes as pathetic. "I was doing that in the Mare Nostrum [series in Europe two months before the Games] after 12km."He said he faced much negativity after that, adding he was grateful to the fans who had stuck by him.Le Clos recently fired his long-time coach, Graham Hill, and has been overseeing his own training programme while finding a replacement."I've learned a lot of new things. Obviously it's just until the end of the year. I'm just doing what I know."He couldn't say if the new coach would be based locally or abroad."I'm honestly not sure, not 100% sure. In the next few weeks I should have someone, hopefully. We'll see."Le Clos heads into the Canada showpiece as defending champion in four events - the three butterfly races and the 200m freestyle.But he's not sure yet which freestyle event to do."At the World Cup I did the 100m free and 200m free, once each. I really want to swim those two events."The only problem comes in because you've got the heats, semifinals [in the 50m and 100m events] and finals."So instead of doing five races, it's 13 races."

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