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Le Clos to aim big for Rio

South African swimming sensation Chad le Clos will aim for multiple medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, reports Gareth Duncan.

This was confirmed by Le Clos’s swimming coach Graham Hill at SASCOC’s coaching conference in Boksburg. The 20-year-old’s main disciplines are the 100m and 200m butterfly, and the 200m and 400m medley.

‘A lot of people have asked me, how do I keep Chad motivated now that he has achieved his goal of beating his hero Michael Phelps,’ Hill told RoadtoRio.co.za. ‘But Chad has bigger dreams. He doesn’t only want one medal. He wants multiple medals, and that will be the goal in Rio.’

Le Clos has been struggling with a groin tear in recent years, which has struggled to heal. However, Hill said the 20-year-old’s condition has improved and he’ll be in a stronger position to excel.

‘He should be good to swim in all his events in Rio, including the two medleys,’ said Hill. ‘People ask me why I let Chad swim the 200m medley races in London, if it was my plan to pull him out anyway. But the fact that he swam his heats and the semi-final helped him not to focus too much on the butterfly 100m and 200m finals, which could’ve added too much pressure.

‘He did exceptionally well to win gold in the 200m butterfly. We were disappointed to only get silver in the 100m butterfly, because he could’ve won that race too. But that will motivate Chad to do better in Rio and he will learn from that experience.’

Considering all the swimming success in London, Le Clos and fellow Olympic gold medalist Cameron van der Burgh aim to contribute to the sport en route to Rio 2016.

‘Chad and Cameron have become household names and they now draw a great amount of attention,’ said Hill. ‘Chad is competing at a three-day gala in Durban, and it’s unbelievable how many swimmers go up to him and want to hang around him. He never turns someone away, even though he has to concentrate on his races!

‘Chad and Cameron are two guys who want to give back to the sport and want to encourage more youngsters to start swimming. They have vital roles to play in South African swimming.’