Official website of 16th FINA World Championships 2015 in Kazan
16th FINA World Championships

July 24 - August 9, 2015

Chad le Clos: Michael Phelps is a great athlete, I have a very big respect for him

R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya
10.08.2015, 14:00 Sport
London 2012 Olympic champion, South African swimmer, Chad le Clos, who won the men’s 100m butterfly event at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan, spoke on this performance during the FINA World Championships and his impressions and plans for the Rio Olympics.

– What are your final impressions of the Kazan 2015 Championships?

– Everything’s super! All the conditions are created for athletes to feel great throughout the entire Championships. The pool is very big here with a lot of fans cheering for us. I can also say that my dream came true I swam at the football stadium. I have been fond of football since childhood and it is a pleasure to compete at the Kazan Arena Stadium.

– Are you satisfied with your results?

– I’m very glad with the time I showed at the Kazan Championships. I took gold competing against the world’s best athletes, my rivals being strong, indeed. It is a comforting feeling.

– What can you say about your chaser, probably, major opponent at this Championships, Hungarian swimmer Laszlo Cseh?

– I have a big respect for Laszlo Cseh. He is a very strong swimmer. But this is sport. Today you become first, tomorrow somebody else takes the lead. This time I celebrated the world title, though he had all the chances to finish the race first, but this time fortune smiled on me.

– At the London 2012 you overhauled legendary Michael Phelps and grabbed the gold medal. Do you think he will come into form by the Olympic Games and what will happen next year?

– If Michael Phelps comes into form by the Olympics, it does not mean anything. I mean he is a great athlete and I can even call him my role model. I have a big respect for Michael. It does not matter for me to swim tomorrow or in a week or in a year at the Olympics. This is sport and the situation is changeable: I can win a gold medal, two or three more, today, but then… it is much more important for me to show the result I am capable of, to constantly better my time at training. If I am lucky to win the Olympic Games, it is great. The Olympics is probably the flagship competition of the highest profile in any athlete’s life.

– There were a lot of Asian athletes at the World Championships who demonstrated excellent results. Was it a surprise to you?

– As a rule, US athletes are known to be the strongest swimmers. But Asian athletes have really improved and shown wonderful results. When I found out that the Chinese athlete won the title in the 100m freestyle, I exclaimed “Wow!”

– What do you think about youngsters like Katie Ledecky, for example?

– She is fantastic. Everything she does and what results she showed at the Worlds are worth admiring. I was shocked with all of her swims. In a good sense of this word ‘shocked’, of course.

– Your father is your coach. Does it put more pressure on you?

– No, the other way round. You might say my dad’s pressure affects my results, but in fact we get on well and he supports me much. My brother came here as well, supported and cheered for me. It is a pleasure when your family is with you for such moments.

Press Office of Organising Committee for 16th FINA World Championships