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By Sports Reporter


Le Clos ‘overcooked’ but ready to chase titles at SA Swimming Champs

The four-time Olympic medallist will compete in three events in Gqeberha.

Veteran star Chad le Clos admits he is going in with a tired body, but he hopes to open his Olympic season with solid performances at the South African Swimming Championships in Gqeberha which starts on Monday.

Le Clos, who earned a total of four medals at the 2012 and 2016 editions of the Olympics but missed the podium in Tokyo three years ago, will compete in the 100m and 200m butterfly events, as well as the 100m freestyle.

With the six-day national championships serving as trials for this year’s showpiece in Paris, the 31-year-old swimmer said he was eager to secure some SA titles and book his place in the squad for the quadrennial Games.

“I’ve had a massive block of training, especially since the world champs, so I might be a little bit overcooked in the sense of training, but I’m ready for [this] week. I think it’s going to be good,” Le Clos said.

“I’m not expecting to set the world alight… but it would be good to defend those titles and see what happens and go from there.”

Others to watch

Also looking forward to the week ahead is 19-year-old Pieter Coetzé who was the country’s only medallist at the recent World Aquatics Championships in Doha, picking up a bronze in the 200m backstroke.

“I’m feeling very good heading into the trials. I’ve been doing some good training and it’s been tough, but it’s always good to be positive, so I’m looking forward to racing again,” Coetzé said.

“I’ve got some good memories in the PE pool, so I’m feeling confident.”

And looking to boost her confidence ahead of Paris is breaststroke queen Tatjana Schoenmaker, who chose to skip the World Championships in February but will be looking to defend her Olympic title in the 200m breaststroke in the French capital later this year.

Fellow breaststrokers Kaylene Corbett and Lara van Niekerk will also be in the mix. Corbett finished fifth in the same race that Schoenmaker won her Olympic gold and set a world record, while Van Niekerk is gunning for a place at her first Olympic Games.

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Chad le Clos swimming Tatjana Schoenmaker