Chad Le Clos Lifts League MPV In Emotional Return To Haunt That Made Him & Dad Household Names

Chad Le Clos - Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Chad le Clos evoked memories of his life-transforming moment of glory at the London 2012 Olympics after he helped guide Energy Standard to a final-race victory to book their place in the showdown Final Match of the International Swimming League in Las Vegas.

The South African won the 200m butterfly in the same lane five from which he inflicted a shock defeat upon Michael Phelps at the London Aquatics Centre seven years ago, his victory last night steering him to the MVP award by the narrowest of margins from team-mate Sarah Sjostrom.

It was the last race before the skins events – back-to-back, knockout 50m freestyle races which culminate in two swimmers in a head-to-head final – with three races in six minutes determining the final outcome as Energy Standard overhauled London Roar to win by nine points with 467.5pts.

Essentially it came down to the fact that Florent Manaudou, who won the 50m freestyle title in this very pool at the 2012 Olympics, reached the final and Duncan Scott, of London Roar, did not.

Both teams progress to the grand final at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center from 20-21 December with Team Iron (369.5pts) and Aqua Centurions (333.5pts) left to ponder.

For Le Clos, individual and team victory brought back special memories of that night in July 2012.

He said: “It was a really emotional night for me because I had my dad in the crowd, my family.

“I had the same emotions walking out hearing the crowd because it was very loud tonight. It brought out a similar race: I was touching behind at the 150. I just closed my eyes, bit my tongue and counted to 10. I came off the last wall thankfully ahead and put my head down.”

It was at this venue in London that Le Clos made himself a household name back in 2012 – and so did his dad, Bert, who was ecstatic and showed it during an interview with the BBC’s Clare Balding straight after his son’s victory, expletives and all, as he spoke about pride in “my beautiful boy”:

“It was almost like a magic night because if that was any other pool I would probably have lost that race,” said Le Clos after his win in London tonight, seven years on from another emotional moment in the same place, quite different occasion.

“I was holding back the tears walking out because it brings back such special memories because the call room is the same and I remember all those sensations of walking out, Phelps was behind me, walking through and seeing the crowd. It was really beautiful.”

Le Clos took the MVP award with 44.5pts as one point separated the top three with Sjostrom and Emma McKeon, of London Roar, a fingernail behind.

He said: “I wanted to win the MVP for a long time. I was really lucky tonight winning by half a point – almost like 2012 when I won by this much (indicates small amount).

“I felt like I was destined to win tonight because of that. A little lucky but I am very happy with the team’s win which is much more important than the MVP.

“We have got a lot of things to work on for the final. Me personally I am going to have to get faster and shave down and rest. It is going to be very close because London were not at their full strength – Kyle Chalmers coming in would have probably made a huge difference.

“So we know it’s going to be tough so let’s see what happens.”

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