Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

‘I’m a little crushed’: Le Clos gutted despite record-breaking feat

The versatile swimmer will have more opportunities to add to his record medal haul in Birmingham.

Despite matching a prestigious record at the quadrennial showpiece, Chad le Clos admitted it was a bitter-sweet achievement after he narrowly missed out on gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Sunday night.

Le Clos earned the silver medal in the men’s 200m butterfly final in 1:55.89, fading after the final turn as Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand snatched victory in 1:55.60.

With his latest podium result, the 30-year-old South African lifted his career tally to 18 medals, equalling the all-time Commonwealth Games record haul held by shooters Phillip Adams of Australia and Mick Gault of England.

Chad le Clos
Chad le Clos on the podium at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Picture: Getty Images

While Adams and Gault needed six editions of the Games over 20-year periods to achieve the feat, however, Le Clos matched their record over a 12-year period, requiring just four editions of the multi-sport spectacle.

He was nonetheless disappointed after settling for the runner-up spot in the 200m butterfly – the versatile swimmer’s best event.

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“If you told me 12 years ago I would be standing here, I’d have a huge smile on my face, but the competitor in me can’t shake off the fact that I didn’t win tonight,” Le Clos said after the race.

“So as much as I am extremely proud to be representing my country and getting a silver, it just crushes me a little bit to know I missed out by that much.”

Having raised his career tally to seven gold, four silver and seven bronze medals, Le Clos had further opportunities to break the record haul he shared with two other athletes, who have both retired.

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Though he admitted he would need to be ready to fight for it, he was hoping to add to his 18 medals, and he was set to return to the pool in Birmingham on Monday for the 100m butterfly heats in the early session (the final is tonight, if he qualifies) and the 4x200m freestyle relay final in the evening.

“We did everything we could for these Commonwealth Games with what we had. There were some difficult periods over the last two years but I’m not making excuses about that,” he said.

“We’ll be back in the 100m, which will be a little more difficult to win, but I look forward to the challenge.”

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Chad le Clos Commonwealth Games swimming