PHOENIX, Arizona, November 21. CHAD Le Clos joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show after winning plenty of money and gold medals on the World Cup circuit.
Le Clos talks about how swimming in the World Cup has motivated him for the London Olympics and how, despite his initial denial of the comparison, he is taking a similar trajectory as Michael Phelps on the global scene. Watch the full show in the video player below and visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Show Transcript: (Note: This is an automated service where some typos and grammatical errors may occur.)
Peter Busch: Welcome to the Morning Swim Show for Monday, November 21st, 2011. I'm your host Peter Busch in the FINIS Monitor today we talk to Chad Le Clos. He just won 23 gold medals on the World Cup Circuit and Chad joins us right now in the FINIS Monitor from his best friend's house in Durban, South Africa. Chad, welcome back to the show, how you doing buddy?
Chad Le Clos: I'm great, thank you. Thanks for having me again.
Peter Busch: Wow, what a past few months it has been for you, all over the world winning gold medals, making lots of money, not bad at 19.
Chad Le Clos: Yeah, I can't complain, I can't complain.
Peter Busch: Now I feel like we have watched you grow up. We first had you on the show a few years ago and we knew you were good then, but you are really living up to that potential. How do you feel about how you have come along?
Chad Le Clos: You know it is actually surreal to me. You know, when you first had me back in April last year, I kind of you know, I was very unsure and very nervous about swimming at the international level and traveling around. You know I think over the past year and a half I think I've, you know, matured a lot in that respect and yeah I'm just really thrilled with you know everything that has happened so far in my swim career, my short career.
Peter Busch: You won $145,000 on the World Cup Circuit. That will buy you a nice car in South Africa right?
Chad Le Clos: For sure, for sure, actually I need a car. I haven't got a car I have just—I got my license in June before the World Champs but yeah, I think I'm going to get myself a car.
Peter Busch: What are you going to go with?
Chad Le Clos: I don't know. It is difficult to say. I was thinking maybe a Ferrari or an Lamborg but—
Peter Busch: Maybe save that till after you win a medal in London.
Chad Le Clos: Yeah.
Peter Busch: So we got the video of you returning home to Durban after the World Cup Circuit. It was kind of like a rock star homecoming for you. Very nice. Were those a lot of your teammates and friends waiting for you at the airport?
Chad Le Clos: Yeah, for sure. It was fantastic. I had a lot of family that came over. I have a very big family. They were all there. I had a lot of friends. Swimming guys and I had my old school, my high school that I was at last year, they came out there with the drums and the chanting and yeah it was fantastic. I mean I got off the airplane and we have to walk down these stairs but it is like a long 300 meters you have to walk and it was echoing they are like Chad, Chad. And I just kind of heard from like all the way down there, so yeah I know it was a great reception to come back to and you know I actually didn't expect it too much because when I arrived in South Africa, I arrived in Johannesburg so like were quite a few media people there and my dad actually surprised me in Johannesburg because we live in Durban, which is an hour flight and yeah I didn't expect much in Durban and I think Durban was like twice as big so yeah, just thrilled.
Peter Busch: Who is the most famous swimmer in South Africa these days? You could say yourself if it is true, I'm just curious. I mean I don't live there, who is kind of the guy in South Africa right now?
Chad Le Clos: I don't know. I think we got a very good team coming through. I think Cameron, he is very popular here in South Africa, I guess I'm starting to come through a bit. Ryk Neethling is also pretty big still on South Africa, yeah Roland and yeah hopefully I can—
Peter Busch: What is the realistic expectation for you in London?
Chad Le Clos: You know the question has popped up you know more than once you could say. I'm not going to tell you exactly what I think I can do but I think you know it is fair to say that you know I'm definitely going to be gunning for a top 3 finish. I'm going to try swim the 200 fly and the 400 and 200 IM so I will be happy with you know a medal or two along the way. I think that would be a decent performance next year, but yeah anything can happen from now or two London is 8 months away and we have like trials in April so we have to basically qualify again so yeah we will see what happens, I ‘m really excited.
Peter Busch: You beat Michael Philips in the 200 fly at one of the World Cup meets. Do you think you can beat him at the Olympics in the 200 fly?
Chad Le Clos: If I'm actually honest yeah every time I kind of get on the block and I race. It sounds weird but I actually feel like I can actually beat anybody without sounding arrogant or boastful you know when you, but I get in the block when it's a 200 freestyle, 200 fly, 100 breaststroke you know for any race. I don't know I just I feel like you know all my tactics kind of got the window. I just think about trying to race and trying to beat the guy so you know. Next year, obviously you know there is a lot of people that are going to be trying to go for the medal podium, especially in the 200 fly I think that is going to be a very, a close race especially just to get in the final I think say the semifinals is going to be a tough race even, but going back to the question I think yeah, I will be giving it my best shot and I got nothing to lose. He is the defending champion for the past 10 years so I mean it will be amazing if I can.
Peter Busch: Does South Africa have all the pieces necessary to medal in any relays next year or are you still one or two short?
Chad Le Clos: I think that you know like I said we do have a bit of time to work on you know the things like that. I think you know the relay it is all on form you know all 4 swimmers are going to be and I think we will see that next year in April. We will see at the trials you know we got the 4×100 which did very well at the world championships. I think you know if we can qualify for the 4×200, because the moment we don't really have a 4×200 going to the Olympics and a 4×100 medley because we didn't make the final in worlds, but if we can produce, you know on top 6 or top 5 time combined at the national championships we will send a team. So I think some of the other two relays were kind of disappointing, the 4×100, that looks pretty strong that looks pretty strong and yeah hopefully we can just all come together at nationals I think that is going to be the key definitely.
Peter Busch: The first time we had Cameron van de Burgh on the show he talked about wanting to be kind of the first home grown star you know that allowed the guys before him like Ryk and Roland had come to the U.S., come to Arizona or other schools to train here and he wanted to put through that to do it there. You can train in South Africa and still be World Class and you are following in that mold as well.
Chad Le Clos: Yeah.
Peter Busch: Do you think that is becoming like a new trend that more and more South African kids are saying look I don't have to go away, maybe I will, but it is not a must to become a world class swimmer?
Chad Le Clos: You know I definitely think that in South Africa, the coaches in South Africa haven't been getting the right credits over the past couple of years. I think we have great coaches in South Africa. I believe that Graham Hill, the coach that I am with. You know I have been with him for nearly 11 years now. He has produced some you know Olympics Gold medalist from 2000, Terence Parkin, you know he coached Darian Townsend in 2004 with the 4×100 relay team. Charlene Wittstock, the Princess of Monaco, you know he has been around for nearly 24 years now and I think that a lot of people are realizing that you know with I think me and Cameron showing that we can do it in South Africa. You know it is right for us to you know stay back home and train and still perform, but you know not taking anything away from the U.S. I think you know a lot of guys that go over there I'm guessing it works for some people and it works for others you know. A lot of people in South Africa I think because of Ryk and Roland actually go over to the States because they did so well in ‘04 and during those times but yeah I guess it just works for some people and you know for others it doesn't but you know for me personally I can only speak for myself, I am really happy again in South Africa and with Graham so I wouldn't change anything.
Peter Busch: Why do you wear goggles on your neck always on the award podium?
Chad Le Clos: Yeah you know it is actually we have a weird story. When I was younger I used to lose a lot of things so my parents actually told me when I was younger like really young you know like 8-years-old they said well, "Chad, if you are going to lose another pair of goggles or a costume or something, we are going to stop you from swimming," so I kind of decided to wear it around my neck because in that way I never lose them and it actually got so bad that I actually forget sometimes I'm wearing them. So like on the way home after like the World Cups I got my goggles on my neck and then you know asking people like Chad your goggles are around your neck and then I'm like yeah. I don't know it just became the thing since I was young. I have been doing it for awhile now. It has actually become quite popular in South Africa, to be honest. A lot of young kids are trying it out.
Peter Busch: You're a trend setter. Very cool.
Chad Le Clos: Yeah, I know I think it is alright.
Peter Busch: Well it is good to see you doing well. You've got summer coming up there in South Africa, times are good, training is going well, I hope?
Chad Le Clos: Yeah, yeah everything is, yeah I know it is great. Now is a good time for us as South Africans to train and basically you know it is getting already warm now and especially in Durban it is a fantastic place to train in the warm weather. In January we actually, we have the Hungarian National Team coming down. The Chinese national team also, and I think some Germans and some British guys might be coming down.
Peter Busch: Nice.
Chad Le Clos: Because also at the end of January we are having an international competition at the, I think on the 25th of January and yeah a lot of big names are coming down, from what I have heard it should be a very busy January period.
Peter Busch: Chad, we can't wait to see you in action next year buddy, it is going to be fun.
Chad Le Clos: Thank you, thanks so much guys. Cheers.
Peter Busch: That is Chad Le Clos joining us in the FINIS Monitor from Durban, South Africa that is it for today's show. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.
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