Chad Le Clos Energised By First Return to London 2012 Pool Since Olympic Glory

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Chad Le Clos - Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Chad le Clos and Florent Manaudou returned to the scene of their respective Olympic glory to guide Energy Standard to the top of the European table on day one of the last derby of the inaugural International Swimming League season.

Energy Standard was unplugged for a moment when it won the last relay, the men’s 4x100m freestyle, only to find the squad’s second line-top was disqualified for a faulty takeover. Nul point: London Roar only 14 points way by the close of day-one business as a consequence.

For Le Clos, victory in the 100m butterfly and the 4x100m medley and then freestyle relays marked his first time back in the London 2012 Olympic Games pool since he pipped Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly. That victory prompted Chad’s little bro Jordan to have a t-shirt printed with the worlds “My Bro The Phelps Slayer”.

It also sparked one of the outstanding acts of perseverance and determination to set upset straight in Olympic history, Phelps back for Rio 2016 and claiming gold in the 200m a third time in five finals of asking, his first at Sydney 2000 as a 15-year-old finishing an astonishing fifth.

Le Clos was a teen, too, when he made his mark. Back in London today, the man contributed much to Energy’s leading 238 points tally on the first of two days of action that will decide which two European teams go into battle with LA Current and Cali Condors in Las Vegas for the Final Match of the ISL on 20-21 December.

Now 27, Le Clos has claimed a further three Olympic and seven world long-course (50m) medals, including four golds, but nothing will eclipse what came about in July 2012. He said:

“It was really beautiful; (being here) brought back some half tears. It (beating Phelps to claim gold) was the best moment of my life by far: it will always be the best moment of my life. When I get married or whatever I think it will still be the greatest moment of my life because I had looked up to him for such a long time. It was my dream moment.”

The South African dominated the 100m butterfly, his underwater phases so outstripping those of the rest of the field that there was clear daylight when he won.

Flo-Jo Returns To The Scene Of His Great triumphs, Too

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Florent Manaudou – Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Teammate Florent Manaudou was back at the scene of his greatest sporting moment, seven years after winning the Olympic 50m freestyle title. That triumph wrote a special line in swim history: his gold added to that won over 400m freestyle at Athens 2004 by sister Laure as France’s first woman to claim Olympic gold in the pool and made them the first siblings in history to claim gold in solo events in swimming.

The Frenchman was first and second in the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke respectively but it was his changeover with Ivan Girev that cost Energy. Said Manaudou:

“I think for the team the relay and the skins are the best way to score a lot of points. I am so disappointed because we would have won something like 18 points so I am really disappointed about that but we are still first and it is the best way to end the first day.”

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Florent Manaudou – Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Eyes will now be on Manaudou to secure points in the skins – back-to-back, knockout 50m freestyle races which culminate in two swimmers in a head-to-head final. Manaudou said:

“I hope to swim fast tomorrow. It will be hard because Vlad Morozov will swim fast as well so let’s see. I am better than in Indianapolis and Naples so I will have to work on my skins form I guess. There are a lot of good swimmers on the 50 and I want to score points for my team.”

Additional reporting by Liz Byrnes

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