Johannesburg – South African swimming sensation Chad le Clos has reawakened the kid inside him with an insatiable hunger for world swimming dominance just in time for the Fina World Championships in Kazan, Russia.
The London Olympics gold medallist has gone unbeaten in his specialist butterfly events at major world championships in both the long and the short course since the 2012 Games.
Le Clos feels he had not invested as much time and effort as he did prior to the Olympics but he has rekindled that fire to succeed ahead of the championships starting on Sunday.
“First and foremost I have to take care of the butterflies, the 100m and 200m fly are obviously important to me and the 50m fly is something that we’ve dabbled with,” Le Clos told Sport24 from Russia.
Last year Le Clos confirmed his status as the undisputed king of the butterfly when he won the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly at the World short-course championships in Barcelona where he also won the 200m freestyle title.
The 23-year-old will be looking to repeat that feat in the 50 metre pool and has also added the freestyle event to his repertoire in Kazan where he will be defending his 100m and 200m butterfly titles.
“The 200m freestyle is something I want to do well in and I feel that I am in good shape and making the final will be important before I can talk about medals,” he said.
“Once I am in the final of the 200m freestyle anything can happen.”
Le Clos said he had been riding on the coattails of his London 2012 successes finding it difficult to motivate himself.
“After the Olympics it was hard to get back into the pool and motivate myself. I know I’ve made some mistakes in terms of training,” he admitted.
“I kind of rolled off my 2012 season and I was able to still win, not training where I was supposed to be training, it may have been good for other people but not for me.
“I’ve always said I wanted to be the best swimmer in the world and I wasn’t performing in training how I should be.”
The Durbanite said he lacked the assertiveness that had characterised his swimming four years ago but believed he would once again put in dominating performances.
“I was always under a lot of pressure and in London I wasn’t under any pressure because I knew I was in control,” Le Clos said.
“In Barcelona 2013 I was in control but it wasn’t the same control as I usually am and the last week-and-a-half that I have to taper I am feeling in control of the races again.
“I dictate the pace and I can swim off someone and know in the final turn that I can beat them.”