Chad le Clos

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Chad le Clos
Chad le Clos 2013 3.jpg
Le Clos in 2013
Personal information
Full nameChad Guy Bertrand le Clos
National teamSouth Africa
Born (1992-04-12) 12 April 1992 (age 28)
Durban, South Africa
Height1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight84 kg (185 lb)
StrokesButterfly, freestyle, individual medley
ClubEnergy Standard

Chad Guy Bertrand le Clos, OIS (born 12 April 1992) is a South African competitive swimmer who is an Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games champion as well as the Commonwealth record holder in the 50 and 100-metre butterfly.[1] He won gold in the 200-metre butterfly and silver in the 100-metre butterfly in the 2012 Olympics in London, as well as silver medals in the 200-metre freestyle and 100-metre butterfly in the 2016 Summer Olympics. He also won five medals at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore. Le Clos has won the Overall Swimming World Cup four times: 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017. In 2018, Le Clos claimed three gold medals in the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly events at the Commonwealth Games. He also placed second in the 100m freestyle and third, along with teammates Cameron van der Burgh, Calvyn Justus and Brad Tandy, in the 4x100 medley relay.[2] With another win in the 200m butterfly, Le Clos made history by becoming the first man to win three consecutive 200m butterfly Commonwealth titles.[3]

Le Clos was named SwimSwam's 2014 Swammy Award-winner for Male Swimmer of the Year.[4] He currently represents Energy Standard in the International Swimming League.

Personal life[edit]

Le Clos's father is Mauritian, and moved to South Africa at the age of nine, where he met Le Clos's mother, who is of South African descent.[5][6] He attended Westville Boys' High School in Durban, South Africa, matriculating in 2010. He has been swimming from a very young age, and when he started competing at the age of eight, he already had a few years of training under his belt.

He was conferred the silver Order of Ikhamanga on 27 April 2013. In a statement by the Chairperson of the National Orders Advisory Council, Dr. Cassius Lubisi, le Clos was conferred the honour "For his excellent achievements on the international swimming stage, especially at the London Olympics in 2012, thus placing South Africa in high standing globally in the field of Aquatic sports."

He was also announced as the KZN Newsmaker of the Year 2013 at the Durban City Hall on 9 October 2013. The event was hosted by the Durban University of Technology, the City of Durban, and the DUT Journalism Advisory Board. Radio personality Alan Khan was the programme director. Le Clos was not present to receive his award as he was swimming in Moscow. His father, Bert le Clos, received the honour on le Clos' behalf.

Le Clos won the Daily News SPAR Sports Person of the Year in 2010 in which the top school sportsmen were nominated.

2010 Short Course World Championships and Commonwealth Games[edit]

At the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, Le Clos collected 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals. He won the titles in the 200-metre butterfly and the 400-metre individual medley, breaking the Games record in both events.

At the World Short Course Championships in Dubai, Le Clos won the gold medal in the 200-metre butterfly. He narrowly beat Brazilian Kaio de Almeida by 0.05 of a second and Hungarian László Cseh, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, by 0.11 of a second.

2011 Long Course World championships[edit]

At the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai, he finished fifth in the 200-metre butterfly, 13th in the 100-metre butterfly and 10th in the 4 × 100 m medley relay with his teammates.

2012 Olympics[edit]

On the first day of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London Le Clos finished fifth in the 400m individual medley. On the 4th day, Le Clos won the gold medal in the 200m butterfly in 1min 52.96 sec, edging out the two-time defending Olympic champion and world record holder, Michael Phelps, by 0.05 seconds. Le Clos had stated before the games, in personal information given to the media, that his sporting hero is Michael Phelps. He later said that beating his hero was totally unexpected.[7][8] The next day Le Clos qualified for the final of the 200m individual medley by swimming the (tied) 7th time in the semi-finals, but he withdrew to focus on the 100m butterfly. On the 7th day of the competition, Le Clos won the silver medal in the 100m butterfly, tied with Yevgeny Korotyshkin in a time of 51.44 sec, at 0.23 sec behind Phelps.

In the course of the 2012 Games, Le Clos' father, Bert le Clos, became an instant media personality as a result of being interviewed on British television about his son's achievement in winning a gold medal.[9]

2013 Long Course World championships[edit]

After his Olympic success, Le Clos came into the World Championships as a threat. This year, however, Le Clos shortened his program, deciding to only take part in the butterfly events. In his first event, the 50-metre butterfly, Le Clos came 23rd with a time of 23.76, unable to advance to the semi-finals. In his signature event, the 200-metre butterfly, after easily breezing into the final he followed his win from the Olympics, where he won with a 1:54.32. He finished off his schedule by winning the 100-metre fly with a new national record of 51.06, ending the championships on a good note.

2014 Season and FINA Swimmer of Year Award[edit]

Le Clos had one of his best years ever in 2014, including winning 4 golds at a well attended World Short Course Swimming Championships, winning the 50 butterfly, 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, and 200 freestyle. He was named the FINA Swimmer of the Year.

2015 Long Course World championships[edit]

Le Clos finished 14th in the semifinals of the 50 meter butterfly, and 6th in the 200m freestyle. He finished second in the 200m butterfly, at 0.2 seconds behind László Cseh.[10] He successfully defended his 2013 title in the 100m butterfly by winning the gold medal in a personal best time of 50.56.[11] Le Clos and Michael Phelps, who was swimming at the US national championships at the same time and posted slightly faster times in the 100 and 200m butterfly events, exchanged comments about each other's times, which set up a rivalry for the 2016 Olympics.[12]

2016 Olympics[edit]

Le Clos won the silver medal in the 200 metre freestyle event, finishing behind China's Sun Yang in a time of 1:45.20 to become one of South Africa's most decorated Olympians.[13] The medal itself was quite a surprise for many, as Le Clos, primarily known as a butterfly specialist, had to overcome placement in one of the outside lanes and the presence of far more established freestylers in the field, such as the world record holder Paul Biedermann, reigning world champion James Guy, and the eventual bronze medalist Conor Dwyer.

Le Clos finished 4th in the 200 metre butterfly in which he was the defending champion,[14] in a race he called the worst of his career.[15] The event was heavily hyped as a rematch between Le Clos and Michael Phelps, the 2004 and 2008 winner whom Le Clos had narrowly beaten in 2012. The relationship between Le Clos and Phelps had been cordial in 2012–2013 but it deteriorated in 2014 when Phelps came back from retirement.[16] In the ready room prior to the preliminary race, Le Clos' shadow boxing while Phelps "glowered in a corner" spawned the Internet meme with the hashtag #PhelpsFace. Le Clos' Wikipedia biography was even vandalized repeatedly.[17]

Le Clos won a second silver medal in the 100 meter butterfly, in a three-way tie with rivals Phelps and László Cseh, behind Joseph Schooling. He said in the aftermath of the event to have been very disappointed with his overall showing in Rio, but already having firm plans on continuing until the 2020 Games in Tokyo.[18][19] Despite not being satisfied with his Rio showing, he still became South Africa's most decorated Olympian ever with four medals – one gold, three silver.

Since the Rio Olympics, Le Clos has repeatedly demanded that his silver medal in 200-meter freestyle swimming be upgraded to gold because of Sun Yang's previous anti-doping violation.[20]

2017 Long Course World Championships[edit]

He took another major title in the 200 metre butterfly, beating rival and home country favorite László Cseh, at the 2017 World Aquatic Swimming Championships.

2019 Long Course World Championships[edit]

Le Clos was set to swim the 100 freestyle, 100 Butterfly and 200 Butterfly, but chose not to swim the 100 Freestyle. He won bronze medals in both events behind the new world record holders Caeleb Dressel And Kristof Milak.

2019 International Swimming League[edit]

In the Autumn of 2019 he was a member of the inaugural International Swimming League competing for the Energy Standard International Swim Club of which he was co-captain (with Sarah Sjostrom). The team won the overall title in Las Vegas, Nevada, in December.[21] Le Clos won the MVP title at the London stop on the inaugural tour amassing 44.5 points. He won the 100m / 200m Butterfly double three times over the season (Indianapolis, Naples and London), in Indianapolis he also won the 100m Freestyle. Over the season he had the fourth most points (190.5) of any swimmer behind Emma Mckeon, Caeleb Dressel and overall MVP (and teammate), Sarah Sjostrom.[22]

Results in major championships[edit]

Meet 100 free 200 free 50 fly 100 fly 200 fly 200 IM 400 IM 4×50 free 4×100 free 4×200 free 4×50 medley 4×100 medley
WC 2009 17th 16th
CG 2010 17th 1st place, gold medalist(s) 5th 1st place, gold medalist(s) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)[a] 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
SCW 2010 16th 1st place, gold medalist(s) 12th 5th
WC 2011 13th 5th 10th
OG 2012 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) F[b] 5th 7th 13th
SCW 2012 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
WC 2013 23rd 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 11th 11th
CG 2014 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
SCW 2014 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 4th 8th[a]
WC 2015 6th 14th 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
OG 2016 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 4th
SCW 2016 30th 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 6th
WC 2017 12th 1st place, gold medalist(s) 15th
CG 2018 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 7th 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 6th 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
WC 2019 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
a Le Clos swam only in the heats
b Le Clos withdrew after qualifying for the final

Career best times[edit]


Long course (50-metre pool)[edit]

Event Time Venue Date Notes
100 m freestyle 48.15 Gold Coast 8 April 2018
200 m freestyle 1:45.20 Rio de Janeiro 8 August 2016 AF, NR
50 m butterfly 23.29 Glasgow 24 July 2014
100 m butterfly 50.56 Kazan 8 August 2015 AF, NR
200 m butterfly 1:52.96 London 31 July 2012 AF, NR
200 m IM 1:57.94 Johannesburg 7 April 2014
400 m IM 4:12.24 London 28 July 2012

Short course (25-metre pool)[edit]

Event Time Venue Date Notes
50 m freestyle 21.05 Moscow 4 September 2016 [24]
100 m freestyle 45.78 Berlin 6 August 2017 [25]
200 m freestyle 1:41.45 Doha 3 December 2014
50 m butterfly 21.95 Doha 6 December 2014
100 m butterfly 48.08 Windsor 8 December 2016 Former WR
200 m butterfly 1:48.32 Hangzhou 11 December 2018 AF
200 m IM 1:51:56 Dubai 1 September 2014
400 m IM 3:59.23 Tokyo 9 November 2013

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Le Clos wins gold in Delhi". 4 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  2. ^ Retrieved 14 April 2018. Sport24 South Africa
  3. ^ Retrieved 14 April 2018. CNN
  4. ^ "2014 Swammy Awards: Male Swimmer of the Year". SwimSwam. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  5. ^ However, Chad's third name Bertrand, as well as his family name are coming from the Celtic region of France called Bretagne, were many indigenous people there have a family name starting with either "Le" or "Ar". On top of that, Le Clos is a common family name amongst the natives of Bretagne. It's uncertain who brought this family name to South Africa. "Le champion olympique Chad Le Clos s'entraîne à Maurice" [Olympic Champion Chad Le Clos Trains in Mauritius] (in French). Le Défi Media Group. 1 February 2013. Archived from the original on 17 July 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2015.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  6. ^ Graeme Joffe (10 May 2012). "Road to London: Chad le Clos". Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Chad le Clos". Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  8. ^ Chris Paine (1 August 2012). "UNBELIEVABLE! Chad le Clos's dad is the proudest man at the Games". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  9. ^ Richard Hookham (4 August 2012). "Chad le Clos's dad Bert becomes online hit after emotional TV interview". Metro. Archived from the original on 7 August 2012.
  10. ^ Stewart, Mel (5 August 2015). "Watch Laszlo Cseh win 200 butterfly – world championships race video". Swimswam. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  11. ^ James, Ryland (8 August 2015). "Le Clos throws down Rio challenge to Phelps". Yahoo!. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  12. ^ Newberry, Paul (8 August 2015). "Michael Phelps answers rival Chad le Clos' trash talk with top time in 100-meter butterfly". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Chad le Clos bags a silver". Independent Online. 9 August 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Michael Phelps wins his 20th and 21st Olympic gold medal in Rio as Britain bags two silvers". The Daily Telegraph. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  15. ^ Anderson, Jared (11 August 2016). "Le Clos: 200 fly was "the worst performance of my career"". Swimswam. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  16. ^ D'Andrea, Christian (12 August 2016). "Here's why Michael Phelps was staring daggers at Chad le Clos". SB Nation. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  17. ^ Lang, Cady (10 August 2016). "A Guide to Why the Internet Is Losing It Over Michael Phelps Beating Chad le Clos". Time. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Chad le Clos turns attention to Tokyo". Sport. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Le Clos looks for the silver lining | IOL". Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  20. ^ "Chad le Clos seeks Sun Yang's Olympic gold medal for doping case". NBC Sports. 27 February 2020.
  21. ^ "Club Rosters – International Swimming League". Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  22. ^ "2019 International Swimming League", Wikipedia, 17 April 2020, retrieved 17 April 2020
  23. ^ "Chad le Clos Bio". Swimswam. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  24. ^ "2016 FINA World Cup Moscow: Day 2 Finals Full Recap". Swimming World. 4 September 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  25. ^ "Men's 100m Freestyle Final". Omega Timing. 6 August 2017. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Yevgeny Korotyshkin
Men's 100-metre butterfly
world record-holder (short course)

4 December 2014 – 21 November 2020
Succeeded by
Caeleb Dressel
Preceded by
Kaio de Almeida
Men's 200-metre butterfly
world record-holder (short course)

7 August 2013 – 11 December 2018
Succeeded by
Daiya Seto
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Thiago Pereira
Kenneth To
Male World Cup Overall Winner
2013, 2014
Succeeded by
Kenneth To
Cameron van der Burgh
Preceded by
Cameron van der Burgh
African Swimmer of the Year
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ryan Lochte
Caeleb Dressel
FINA Swimmer of the Year
Succeeded by
Mitch Larkin
Caeleb Dressel