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Swimming in the wake of a great

Updated: 2013-11-20 07:08
By China Daily ( China Daily)

For South African swimmer Chad le Clos, beating his hero Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly during the 2012 London Olympics came as a complete shock.

Now, with surging confidence and continually improving performances, he is aiming to try more events at the next Olympics and possibly duplicate Phelp's feat by winning five individual golds at a Games.

"Beating him (Phelps) in London was the most beautiful memory of my career (so far). That was my first Olympic gold medal. But it will not be the last (there are) still many more things I want to achieve," said le Clos during an interview in Beijing as an ambassador for Omega.

 Swimming in the wake of a great

South African star swimmer Chad le Clos attends a media session last week as an ambassador for Omega in Beijing. Provided for China Daily

Le Clos, 21, won three gold medals at last week's final meet of World Cup Series in Beijing - in the 100m and 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley - giving him a 2013 tally of 24 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals in the eight-meet series.

Since middle school, le Clos regarded Phelps as a model to follow.

"I seriously started swimming at 11, 12. It was in middle school and it was the same time as the Athens Olympics. Phelps won six gold medals. I regarded him as a future role model and a source of inspiration. Throughout the years, I was growing more and more and I watched him all the way until he retired. I have always tried to be like him."

Le Clos's dominance in the 100m and 200m butterfly events has become increasingly evident over the past year - especially with an eight-race unbeaten run in the World Cup Series in the 200m butterfly.

He has also tried out other events and achieved some impressive results.

Still, he has no idea how many events he will take part in at the Rio Games, which are still three years away.

"I'm not quite sure how many events I will try (in Rio). All I can promise is that I will be in the best shape of my life at the next Olympics.

"Whether I win one medal or 10 medals, I don't know. Anything can happen in the next three years. If I can stay injury free and well, I have a good chance to win a lot more than I won in London."

He is fully focused on his training and competitions, but is also aware that 28-year-old Phelps started training again this year and might return to the pool.

"Great for the sport if he comes back. But it doesn't make any difference to me. I'm still trying to be the best that I can be. Whether he comes back or not doesn't faze me too much. I still have respect for him."

(China Daily 11/20/2013 page23)

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