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Chad mixes with City aces ahead of World Champs
- Updated: July 18, 2013
South African Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos got an unexpected boost ahead of the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona on Wednesday as he met up with visiting Manchester City soccer stars in Durban.
The 21-year-old Le Clos has been fine-tuning his final preparations after struggling with injury towards the end of 2012 and spent time with Manchester City’s Swedish international John Guidetti, Frenchman Gael Clichy, Argentinian ace Sergio Aguero and English international Joleon Lescott on the eve of his departure for Barcelona.
Speaking of his form ahead of the Championships Le Clos said: “It’s the first time in a long time that I have felt like myself in the water. After an injury it is easy to lose track, and I have had to work back to where I feel I am supposed to be. Going into Worlds I feel like I am back where I want to be.”
For Le Clos and the rest of the world’s top butterfly stars, the Barcelona event will be different, as it will be first time in a decade that the icon Michael Phelps will not be there as the dominant figure. “It really will be weird because all of us have always been chasing Phelps!”, said le Clos.
The pressure of being the Olympic title holder will also mount on Le Clos, but he feels that he will still use the same techniques to deal with that pressure.
“I know all about the pressure, so it won’t be that different. It’s all about getting to the final, and then everything falls by the wayside ÔÇô the times guys have raced, their reputations. It is then just about racing that one race. I will be just as nervous as they will be for that final,” said le Clos.
“I really want to win the 200 ‘fly and I hope to be up there for the 100 ‘fly as well,” he said. “In the 50 ‘fly I will be pleased to make the final and see what happens from there.”
The meeting with the Manchester City internationals came as a timely confidence booster for the young Durbanite, who was flattered to have French international star Gael Clichy ask for a photo with him. “It is a fantastic feeling to experience that mutual respect from other top level sportsmen,” said le Clos. “They are all great guys, and to realise they have that respect and appreciation for what I do feels great.”
“It is important. I will never forget getting to meet some of The Sharks after the Commonwealth Games in 2010. I was a real youngster ÔÇô a nobody ÔÇô yet they were so decent and respectful when I was expecting them to be arrogant. That meant a lot to me,” he added.
Le Clos is a regular at Prime HPI and revels in the fact that it offers a complete sports medicine solution to him. “If I am training at Kings Park it is so useful to come straight across the road and have access to the top biokineticists, physiotherapists and doctors. If I need it I use the ice bath after training, and I enjoy the facilities and the vibe there.”
While Le Clos admits to being something of a Manchester United fan, he will be in the stands for Manchester City’s date with local outfit Amazulu. “It will be special. Mandela Day will make it special in a lot of ways. It’s a pre-season game for man City, so I am going with a 2 all draw,” said Le Clos.