Chad Le Clos was crowned Best Male Fédération Internationale de natation (FINA) Male Swimmer for 2018 in spite of describing his participation at the World Swimming Championships held in Hangzhou, China as a bit shaky.
The Multiple Olympic medalist dedicated his award to South Africa’s swimming great, Cameron van der Burgh after he had announced his retirement from the sport.
“We had also in Hangzhou the end of career for Cameron van der Burgh. He is a great example for all of us, and that’s why I wanted to dedicate this award also to him.”
A Happy Chad Le Clos
At the FINA gala dinner, Le Clos said it was the fourth time he had received the prize, so he was particularly happy.
“I am also thrilled with the way my year finished – on top. I was really glad with the results I could make here in Hangzhou, and I liked a lot the atmosphere here, with big crowds supporting all the athletes,” said Le Clos.
Van der Burgh completed a fairy-tale end to his incredible swimming career by walking away with gold in the 50m breaststroke final in championship record and also claimed gold in the men’s 100m breaststroke world title with a new record of 56.01.
Despite finishing in an unusual position of ninth in the World Cup Series, Le Clos was still named FINA’s 2018, beating Vladimir Morozov to the prestigious award.
“I didn’t have any idea that the result for the male swimmer was so close (with Morozov). Regardless of that, I did my best in the 100m free. I thank FINA for this opportunity – it’s the second time I win this prize – especially in a year where my participation at the Swimming World Cup was a bit shaky.’’
FINA Best Male Swimmer 2018 – Chad Le Clos (RSA) 🏆🇿🇦
Ambassador for the 2018’s edition of the @youtholympics in Buenos Aires, South African star @chadleclos is FINA Best Male Swimmer for this year. What a season he had, let’s relive it together! pic.twitter.com/v3aiivhbfO
— FINA (@fina1908) December 16, 2018
The 25-year-old won gold in the 100m butterfly and two silvers in 200m and 50m butterfly events as well as a bronze medal in the in the 100m freestyle at the World Short Course Championships. Le Clos was pleased with his efforts.
Chad Le Clos Competing Against the Best in the World
“I had to skip the third cluster, but four medals here mean a lot to me. The field here in Hangzhou was amazing – I was simply racing against the best in the world. I could say it was like ‘short course Olympics’. I had great races here, the 100 fly, where I improved the World Record but finished second, and the 100m free today, racing against Dressel and Morozov. It was really a great meet. Tokyo 2020 is, of course, my biggest focus and Hangzhou proved that from now on I can also sprint well,” said Le Clos.
Earlier this year Le Clos completed a treble at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games becoming the most decorated swimmer in the Games history. When he claimed victory in the 200m butterfly, he also became the first male swimmer to win three consecutive Commonwealth gold medals at one event.
The Durbanite was not done yet as he also won the 50m Butterfly event, silver in the 100m freestyle and a bronze as part of South Africa’s 400 medley relay.
The Chad Le Clos Foundation
Le Clos made it clear he wants to continue swimming into his thirties but has a lot of other projects such as the Chad Le Clos Foundation, which is working with children with more need, from less developed areas of our country.
My beginning was also very humble and I never forget that.
“I love to compete, I love to race, I am always ready to go. 2019 is an important year, as we are 12 months away from the Olympics. Preparation will be hard, but I am prepared for it,” the FINA world champion said.