Call me Phelps, says le Clos after 200m fly treble
South Africa’s Chad le Clos likened himself to swimming legend Michael Phelps on Saturday after blasting his way to a hat-trick of Commonwealth Games titles in the 200 metres butterfly.
The four-time world champion clocked a Games record of one minute, 54 seconds flat to become the first male swimmer to win three consecutive Commonwealth gold medals in the same event.
“I wanted to get the three-peat,” said le Clos, who shot to fame at the 2012 London Olympics by stunning Phelps in the 200m butterfly in one of the sport’s great upsets.
“No one’s done the triple before so – Michael Phelps of Commonwealth!” added the pin-up with a wide smile, after beating Australian David Morgan by more than two-and-a-half seconds.
“It means a lot. Tonight was all about history – it was all business.”
Only Australian women Leisel Jones (100-200m breaststroke) and Petria Thomas (100m butterfly) have previously won three consecutive golds in the same event at the Commonwealth Games.
“I had to get in and get the job done and come out as unscathed as possible,” said le Clos, after following his gold in Friday’s 50m fly with a sparkling performance.
“That was my fastest ever 150m split and then I knew the race was over.”
Le Clos, who is contesting seven events at the Games, returned to the pool to qualify second fastest for Sunday’s 100m freestyle final, ahead of Australia’s Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers.
“Tomorrow is going to be a humdinger,” predicted the South African.
“I want to be in the mix of things and let’s see what happens.”
Le Clos arrived in Australia looking to become the most successful athlete in Commonwealth Games history.
He was six medals behind shooters Mick Gault and Philip Adams, who lead the way with 18.
Despite adding two golds to his haul, le Clos will have to wait until Birmingham 2022 to overtake them after failing to medal in the 200m freestyle and the 4x100m free.
“Obviously, I’m not going to get the six medals but I’d like to win as many golds as possible and get the fly treble,” said the 25-year-old, targeting yet another Games first.
“It was painful but I wanted to just make sure I was winning comfortably,” he added after his butterfly victory.
“I’m as sore as you can be after six races in the space of 24 hours.”
Looking forward to Sunday’s final in the 100m free, swimming’s blue riband event, le Clos promised: “They will feel me. I have nothing to lose.
“I may get fourth, I may get eighth – but I also might just win.” – AFP