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In just a week, SA swimmer Charl Crous will compete in one of the biggest races in his career.
The 21-year-old Durbanite will make his debut at the London Olympics on Sunday. Crous is set to compete in the men’s 100m individual backstroke and the backstroke leg of the men’s 100m x 4 medley relay.
Ahead of the games, Crous and the rest of the SA swimming team have been in Monaco, preparing for the Olympics. The team have been hosted by Princess Charlene of Monaco and her husband, Prince Albert.
The ex-SA Olympic swimmer invited the team to stay in the principality for their final build-up to the games.
Speaking to the Saturday Star from Monaco, Crous said the team had been having the time of their lives in Monaco, and that they had been treated like royalty by their hosts.
“I am absolutely loving it here in Monaco,” said Crous.
He says it’s been an honour being hosted by the princess and prince. “She (Princess Charlene) and Prince Albert have gone the extra mile to make us feel at home.
“The accommodation is outstanding and the food is magnificent. The other day she came down to the pool to catch up with us and check if everything was going well.”
This is the second time that Crous has had dealings with Princess Charlene, having met her for the first time when he was a young boy. “I met her in Durban at a swimming meet when I was 12 years old. She hasn’t changed one bit since then. She’s lovely to be around, sweet and caring.”
Crous was also full of compliments for the training facilities. “They’re outstanding. It’s been a treat training here.”
Crous says the team have been relaxing quite a bit. “Most of the guys haven’t really done much other that sleeping and recovering.
“I’ve been lucky to have done some sightseeing with Princess Charlene’s brother. He’s really treated me.”
Crous has even been lucky enough to ride in an Aston Martin.
“The highlight of my trip is definitely having a ride in the Aston Martin Vantage. It was sublime.”
With the Olympic games just a week away, Crous says he is ready and raring to go.
“I’m really excited to get going. A lot of hard work and time have gone into this so I’m more than ready,” said Crous.
He has also set some personal goals ahead of the Games. “My goal is to… deliver the best possible race I can next Sunday. I want to swim my best time, which should get me into a semi-final.
“Everyone should keep an eye out for our 4 x 100 individual medley relay. We are in medal contention there… ”
The team will jet off to London for the Olympics tomorrow.