South African swimmer Chad le Clos for the second time became the World Cup Overall Winner.
The boy, who beat Michael Phelps on the Olympic Games in London, has landed in Moscow for couple of days in order to participate in completions in the «Olympyiskyi» swimming pool and to give an exclusive interview to magazine to Swim Illustrated.
«I want to be the best all over the World»
— What do think, Chad, why swimming is the best sport in the World?
— Nice question. First, I adore swimming. This is my life. Second, this is an illusion, that swimming is considered as not a most popular sport in the World. As if, there are millions of fans of football. But our competitions are always with “sold out” notice. And I saw the statistics, that the most of all are really keen on swimming. A lot of people have swimming pools near their houses. In the summer all people are relaxing on the sea or on the ocean. This is the most mass sport. We have more fans than football.
— In accordance with Wikipedia you began to swim from very young age…
— My father trained me to swim in the age of 3-4 years. He was my first coach. In the age of 8 years I went to a swim section. Already I could something to do, something to know. From the age of 10 years I started to participate in competitions.
— And when did you was determined with your favourite stroke?
— When I was too small, I used all strokes. To my mind this is a basic principle. Children must not cycle for one thing. After I realised, that my beloved stroke is medley. Of course, I need a lot of training in breaststroke, but I have my personal trump — butterfly. And if I want to win a new World cup, I must be a strong universal. Swimmers with only one stroke have few chances.
— Katinka Hosszu has received the nickname of «Iron Lady». And you could be named «Iron Man».
— Like in the movie? Thanks for this compliment.
— You visit all laps of World Cup. Changing of cities, countries, and you are swimming without any tiredness, participating in few final’s races every evening.
— It is very difficult. You must be in the ideal sporting shape in order to endure it. You must be strong. And I mean there not “physical”, but also psychology.
How much do you trust yourself? Are you sure, that you are capable to win? It is strongly important to me. I want to be the best swimmer all over the World. And I am very proud by the fact, that a boy from a so small country (in swimming), like South Africa, was able to beat Michael Phelps in London 2012. And to come to so huge country as Russia, and also to show there, what I am really worth.
Being a child, I said to myself: “I want to be the best in the World. Otherwise, what for to swim?” I could say it is philosophy.
“Who works more, has more chance”
— Let’s remember once more your final race in Olympic Games in London. 200 meter butterfly. You are on the 5th line. Michael Phelps swims near, on the 6th line. Everybody is waiting, that on finish the great champion will swallow you as boa rabbit. But you keep your advantage (1.52.96) and outrun the great Phelps (1.53.01).
— All was just like that. Your memory serves you right.
— How many times did you revised this final race?
— I don’t calculated. May be, million times. I am ready to watch it every day.
— You know, the swimmers after the race of their life say: “From that moment I never saw it”.
That’s way, they lie you boldly. They are watching it. Every day. This is a crazy proudness, when you did something great and became world-wide known.
— The distance between you and Michael was 0.05 second only.
— Probably, I had a chance on finish. But, as we say in South Africa, more you train, more you have chances.
— Two days after it was another big story with you. Michael Phelps turned the tables in the final race of 100 m butterfly (51.22). But your time was the same as one of Evgeny Korotychkin (51.44), and you both received the silver medal!
— Really, I am happy about such affair. I know, that Evgeny for a long time was coming to this medal. Even I have any doubt, that he merited it. And for us it is the great honour, that we divided the podium with Michael Phelps. Probably, if it was not Phelps, they not remember so much about our silver medal in 100 m butterfly.
— And what do think about Michael’s comeback to big-time sport? I don’t speak, that he will go to World championship-2015 in Kazan. But this man was not training during one year and a half!
— I don’t believe in it. Probably, Phelps missed only 4-5 months. Or, half a year. But all other time he was training. May be, not so intensively. Or the mass-media had no idea about it. However, he never drop sport for one year and a half.
I think, that the comeback of Phelps is a marvellous event. I don’t know another man, who could so nicely popularize swimming all over the World. Michael is a greatest athlete in the history of our sport. And I am in delighted with his comeback.
— Because I want to win him.
— It is rather difficult to trust your sincerity. I imagine myself Chad le Clos in the role of steel concrete favourite. And Phelps himself arrives to your final’s race such a big rival, as a real fairy tales’ hero…
— There I speak again about the psychology. Michael won the gold on three Olympic Games. He is a great champion. And, of course, an unambiguous favourite. But this burden is not so light. And Phelps must carry it, — Chad le Clos laughs.
— Michael Phelps sometimes behaves as a bad boy. Smokes marihuana, drives drunk. And do you behave ill?
— In this case I don’t want to imitate Michael. I wish to be correct not only in sport, but also in normal life. My name is not Phelps, but Chad le Clos. And I want to the best swimmer in the World.
“My alarm clock jingles at 5 h 30 in the morning”
— When you were a 4 years child, a Great Russian swimmer Denis Pankratov won two gold medals in Olympic Games in Atlanta. His personnel trick in butterfly was that from the start he was diving a half of pool under water. Do you see his video?
— Sure, yes! Incredible athlete. A real example for his generation. A lot of young people saw him as a model. I also took something over him. Thought, it is prohibited today by regulations to dive so long under water. But Pankratov was always an ideal to imitation for many butterfly’s swimmers.
— Describe, please, your standard day.
— An alarm clock jingles in my room at 5 h 30. The training begins in an hour. At 08.30 – 09.00 in the morning I go to gym. There I do exercises 4 times a week in the morning – on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. And every day in the afternoon. Sunday is completely my day of relax.
— How many km you swim during one training?
— You know, it depends of session. Sometimes it is 5-7 km per training. On average under 6.5 km.
— Butterfly is a very difficult stroke.
— Sure, it is true.
— What it was a most long distance you swam during the training? Evgeny Korotyshkin remembered, that just after his summer’s rest he received an exercise – 1 km in butterfly.
— Oh, it is very difficult! I also was swimming one or two km in butterfly. But, generally, I do my accent to medley.
“My sport hero was always Phelps”
— What do you think about the World Championship, which will take place in Kazan in 2015?
— I was never been in this city, I’ll come for the first time. I’m in the grip of deep emotion. I love Russia, a public here supports me always strongly in Moscow. The tournament in Kazan will be very important. It is the last start on this level before Olympic Games in Rio. If I should win two gold medals more, as in Barcelona-2013, I’ll be happy. As to the organization, I have no doubt. Sure, that everything will be perfect in Kazan.
— Who was your idol in childhood?
— Any doubt, Phelps. I was growing on his swimming. Therefore, it was very important to win him. When I was young, it was my dream.
— And Russian swimmers?
— Vladimir Salnikov – a legend of swimming in 1500 m freestyle. I was always admired him. Alexander Popov put the highest level in freestyle sprint during many years. Generally, in the history of Russia there were a lot of perfect swimmers. And new generation is also good. I’m waiting, that your boys will create me a serious rivalry in Kazan.
— What are your most beloved places in Moscow?
— I took not a lot of walk in your capital. I am flying there for two or three days only. But once I visited Red square. Also I saw several places, which every foreign tourist, who respect himself, must visit any time. But much more I see the city from the window of hotel or bus.
— Do you like football?
— I adore it! The Championship-2010 passed in South Africa. I saw all matches. I’m fanatic of «Manchester United». My father was also its fan, what is transferred to me as legacy.
— A legendary sprinter Usain Bolt say, that once he will play in «Manchester united».
— Me too. I’ll take a t-shirt wit number 7, he with 8. And let’s them catch up us!
— Do you participate in flash-mob «Ice Bucket Challenge»?
— Of course! I have even its video in my mobile. I took the relay from my best friend. You can see it in my twitter or instagram.
— Vladimir Morozov in the interview informed us, that in California the police fines the penalty of 500 USD for this act, because the water is under strict economy there.
— Is it true? In South Africa we don’t have such law.
— In Russia mass-media wrote a lot about a court process of Oskar Pistorius, a well-known para-Olympic athlete of our country.
— Oh, yes, this is a very sad story. But no comment from my side. Simply, there are no words. But it was happened a greatest tragedy, and I express my sincere condolences to all relatives and parents of that girl.
— Thank you very much, Chad, for this interview.
— You are always welcome.