Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
19 Nov 2013
6:00 am

Coach lauds SA pool brilliance

Wesley Botton

Chad le Clos was praised by national swimming coach Graham Hill yesterday for spearheading an impressive 2013 campaign by the South African team.

IMPRESSIVE. National swimming coach Graham Hill has lauded Chad le Clos after a stellar season. Picture: Gallo Images.

Hill, who coaches Le Clos and rising star Myles Brown, and oversees the national squad, was pleased that Le Clos had maintained his momentum this year, indicating he was on track for a bag of medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“After what he achieved last season (Olympic gold and silver), for Chad to follow through and back himself the way he did is not easy,” Hill said.

“Even Michael Phelps had off years between Olympics. It’s a lot of stress to handle.”

Le Clos grabbed gold in the 100m and 200m butterfly at the Fina World Championships in Barcelona and clinched the overall World Cup title for the second time with a haul of 35 medals in the eight-leg series.

He also improved the world 200m butterfly record twice, lowering Brazilian Kaio Almeida’s four-year-old global mark by more than half a second, ultimately bringing it down to 1:48.56.

The SA squad shone this season, with Cameron van der Burgh securing gold and silver at the world championships, while 24-year-old Giulio Zorzi took bronze in the men’s 50m breaststroke final.

Veteran sprinter Roland Schoeman finished fourth in the World Cup series, while Brown finished eighth.

Brown, 21, also took sixth place in the 400m freestyle at the global championships during a breakthrough season.

“Myles is well on track. He didn’t qualify for the Olympics last year and now he’s one of the best middle-distance swimmers in the world,” Hill said.

“All three guys were great at the World Cup and showed again that we’re up there, and the world now sees us as one of the best.”