arena has renewed its sponsorship agreement with 2012 Olympic champion, Chad le Clos, through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 26-year-old South African, who leapt into the limelight after out-touching Michael Phelps in the now-famous 200m butterfly final at the London Olympics, is scheduled to arrive in Italy’s fashion capital to compete at the upcoming Trofeo Città di Milano swim meet (City of Milan Trophy) from 1st-3rd March, 2019.
“I’m really happy to extend this great partnership with arena.” said le Clos, who first signed with arena back in 2010. “Over the last decade my career has gone through a few different phases, with both highs and lows, and arena has always been there, no matter what. That’s very important for me. And then of course there are the great suits and equipment, which are far and away the best on the market. So as I look forward to the next few years and chasing my new goals, it’s great that I’ll still have arena in my corner.”
Le Clos’ career started taking off in 2010, his final year at high school, when his butterfly and IM performances stood out at the Youth Olympics in Singapore, the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, and the World Short Course Championships in Dubai. But it was his London Olympics performances, and the 200m butterfly in particular, that catapaulted him into swimming’s headlines. Since then he has won two more Olympic silver medals (2016: 200m freestyle, 100m butterfly), four World Championship golds and a silver (2017: 200m butterfly gold; 2015: 100m butterfly gold, 200m butterfly silver; 2013: 100m & 200m butterfly gold), and five more Commonwealth Games gold medals, including a sweep of all three butterfly events at the 2018 Games in Australia’s Gold Coast. He’s been equally impressive in the 25m pool, racking up 10 World SC Championship gold medals overall since 2010. His most recent victory came in Hangzhou’s Championships in December, 2018, where he successfully defended his 100m butterfly crown, holding off the in-form American Caeleb Dressel in the season’s fastest time, and setting things up for a mouth-watering showdown at this summer’s Gwanju World LC Championships.
He is also the current holder of the World short course 100m butterfly record, the Commonwealth Games 100m & 200m butterfly records (both set in 2018), and a two-time winner of the FINA Male Swimmer of the Year award (2014, 2018).
Plans for 2019
Le Clos’ primary goal for 2019 is to swim a personal best in 200m butterfly, while also medalling in both 100m & 200m butterfly at the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. From a training perspective, he’s been doing more gym work for both power and injury prevention, and on the nutrition side, more greens have been added to his diet to provide a healthy balance with proteins, grains and other foods. Overall, 2019 is an important year in the four-year Olympic cycle, and so in terms of preparation Chad’s eye is already firmly on Tokyo 2020.
Beyond the Pool
The Chad Le Clos Foundation was recently launched with the aim of raising money for underprivileged kids who have difficulty getting to training and swim meets, or getting the right equipment. Over the years he’s also been involved with work in impoverished areas of Durban and Cape Town, and his Chad Le Clos Academy also does community outreach every few months.
The bronzed South African is also into fashion, and would “love to go to fashion week in Milan, London and potentially Paris in the future”. To relax outside of swimming, he plays FIFA on his playstation, enjoys table tennis and pool, and surfs whenever he gets the chance.
Coming to Milan is a treat for Chad, since he’s always loved visiting Italy. “My first trip was 10 years ago in 2009 for the World Championships in Rome. There are so many things I like but obviously the food is excellent and I think each place in Italy has a unique culture. When you are in Naples and Caserta the pizzas are unreal and the tomatoes are phenomenal. Then you go to Florence where the fish is really good and then you go little bit more North and again it’s different. I think it’s just a really great unique culture.”