DURBAN – Celebrating his 26th birthday at the Commonwealth Games in Australia was the cherry on top for Durban swimming star Chad le Clos, who was in record-breaking form this week.
As he and his family wrapped up his swimming fest, Le Clos thanked South Africans for their support.
“I really feel the love, a big thanks to everyone,” he told the Independent on Saturday from Queensland.
Le Clos broke the record books by becoming the first swimmer to win gold medals in three consecutive Commonwealth Games, and with 17 medals in total over the three editions he has become the Games’ most decorated swimmer.
He won five medals at this year’s Games.
“It’s been a wonderful week and it couldn’t have gone better.
“The second half of the week was fantastic, celebrating my birthday with my family and friends,” said Le Clos, who celebrated turning 26 on Thursday.
The Games come to an end today.
The family will be heading back to Durban on Monday, while Le Clos himself flies on to Cape Town, where he will continue to train.
Dad Bert le Clos, also speaking to the paper from Australia, said: “The medals were unbelievable and everyone is happier than we’ve ever been.
“All I can say is that my liver can’t take much more of the celebrations,” said Bert, who was attending the Games in Australia with his wife Geraldine and son Jordan.
Le Clos is expected to make an announcement in the coming week about a new initiative he will be launching, focused on swimming.
Le Clos shot to fame when he famously pipped US swimming sensation Michael Phelps at the 2012 Olympics in London in the 200m butterfly. He completed the swim in 1min 52.96 sec, 0.05 seconds faster than Phelps.
The following year he was conferred the silver Order of Ikhamanga for his achievements in international swimming, and in 2014 he scooped a host of first prizes at the World Short Course Swimming Championships and was named the Swimmer of the Year.