Chad Le Clos is everything people envisage in a top swimmer. He is very good looking, with sun-kissed hair, eyes to die for and a beautiful smile. His Dad, Bert Le Clos, who garnered some fame himself after Chad snatched the gold away from Micheal Phelps at the London 2012 Olympics, described him as his “beautiful boy.” In May, Chad set off for Doha in Qatar for high altitude training and then moved onto the Mare Nostrum Series of swim galas. He tweeted that he would not be back home in South Africa until the Rio Olympics are done and dusted.

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Completely focussed on Rio.

He is completely focussed on bringing home medals from Rio, and this determination, coupled with a rigid training regime demonstrates his strength as a swimmer. His determination is admirable, given that his beautiful mother is battling breast cancer at the moment. The Sunday Times reported that Chad is hanging onto the dream of becoming South Africa’s “most successful Olympian,” despite his concerns over his Mum - Geraldine le Clos, who underwent breast cancer surgery in May this year. Chad will be out there at Rio swimming to make his mom and his country proud.

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Chad’s early life.

Chad was born on the 12th April 1992 and was raised in Durban, an east coast city in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Province of South Africa. He started swimming when he was young and by the time his school swimming coach suggested he get professional training at the age of ten he was already showing great talent. Despite living at the coast, Chad admits he is not comfortable swimming is the sea, as he prefers to be in control.

The ocean at Durban is famous for strong tides and large breakers. Chad has a younger brother, 17-year-old Jordan, who is also a swimmer, but not yet in the same class of competition as Chad. In 2010 Chad completed high school and was nominated as the Daily News Spar sportsperson of the year. The award is given to top sporting school children. Just three years later he was recognized as the Kwa-Zulu Natal top newsmaker of the year.

Professional swimming career.

Chad is a 24-year man now and has come a long way from his first success at grabbing Olympic medals. In 2010 when he was 17 years old, he snapped up five medals at the Singapore Youth Summer Olympics and that same year he won the 200m butterfly and the 400m individual medley in record time In Delhi at the Commonwealth Games. Two years later Chad shot into fame when he took the gold medal in London in the 200m butterfly when he beat his sporting hero Michael Phelps.

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At the same games, he also took the silver in the men’s 100-metre butterfly, where Phelps edged him out of the gold by 0.23 seconds. Since then he took two gold medals at the World Championships in Barcelona in 2013, and in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, he earned six medals with gold in the 100 and 200m butterfly. In August 2015 he took the gold at the FINA World Championships in Kazan in the 100m butterfly.

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His swimming times are constantly improving and he credits much of his success to his coach who does not set unattainable goals for him. 

Awards and records.

Chad holds the short course 100m and 200m men’s butterfly world records. In 2011, 2013 and 2014 he held the position of Male World Cup Overall Winner. He was recognized as being the African Swimmer of the Year in 2012 through to 2014 and the FINA swimmer of the year in 2015.

Betting odds.

Chad le Clos is in the running to take gold but his main completion will probably come from Hungarian Lazlo Czeh in the 200m butterfly and Phelps himself is hoping to focus on the 100 and 200m butterfly as well. He is a more mature first-time father this time around, and whether that maturity will hold off the younger Le Clos is the subject of much speculation. Phelps has not yet been officially announced as a competitor at Rio and he told the Baltimore Sun that he not thinking of entering the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Paddypower odds for the 200m men’s butterfly are sitting at Phelps (10/11), Le Clos (12/5) and Lazlo(16/5).

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