5 December 2014
Olympic gold medalist Chad Le Clos was crowned the world’s best for 2014 by the International Swimming Federation (Fina).
The South African swimmer was named Sportsman of the Year at the SA Sports Awards in Johannesburg on Monday night.
Topping off a shimmering week, Le Clos also set a new world record of 48.44sec in the 100m butterfly at the FINA World Short-Course Swimming Championships in Doha on Thursday.
Le Clos cut 0.04sec off Evgeny Korotyshkin’s record from November 2009.
“Timing is important to get the world record,” Le Clos told Reuters. “You have to race to win.
“There was lots of pressure from the media and others on my shoulders and I wanted to show … the world that I am the best swimmer in the world.”
The gold for butterfly came after the 22-year-old swimmer won the 200m men’s freestyle on Wednesday, declaring it as one of the best swim medals he has ever won.
“It’s a race I have wanted to win for a long time – on a world stage of course,” the swimmer told reporters. “At the World Cups I have never swum a 200 freestyle so it is my first one – I am really happy.
“It’s short course, I want to be the best long course. I know my turns are really good so to chase these guys long course is going to be a different ball game but I’ll take it away and work on it when I get back home.”
Earlier this year, Le Clos became the first man to be crowned Fina’s Swimming World Cup series winner for the third time, collecting 27 gold medals along the way.
Le Clos also became the first ever swimmer to go unbeaten throughout a World Cup series.
Other South African results from Doha:
- Fourth place at 6:52.13 for the South African 4x200m freestyle relay team of Le Clos, Myles Brown, Sebastien Rousseau and Leith Shankland.
- Cameron van der Burgh came fourth in the 100m breaststroke final, with 56.80. It is the world record holder’s third race since returning from a shoulder injury.