Swimming superstar, Chad le Clos, told GiveMeSport exclusively that making history in the pool at the 20th Commonwealth Games was a dream realised and one he could never have achieved if it wasn't for the incredible support he was given from the team around him.
World, Olympic and Commonwealth Champion, Le Clos, stormed to a seventh Commonwealth medal in a single Games when he claimed bronze in the 4x100m medley relay, equalling the legendary Australian Ian Thorpe's haul of seven medals he achieved in Manchester back in 2002.
He also surpassed the Australian with an overall tally of 12-medals across two Games, drawing him level with compatriot and team-mate Roland Schoeman and only one behind another Australian, Michael Wenden, the most decorated Commonwealth swimmer of all-time, another record that the 22-year old will have his sights set on in four-years time.
Dream come true
The South African superstar told GiveMeSport shortly before he returned home, to what is expected to be a hero's welcome, about the incredible feeling following his monumental efforts at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow.
"It is a pretty awesome feeling. It has been a dream of mine to make history right from four-years ago when I got my first gold medal from the Commonwealth Games," referring to his double gold in the 200m butterfly and the 400m individual medley in Delhi back in 2010.
"I remember having that hunger and desire just to win more and make history. When I got that bronze in the medley relay I realised one of my dreams of becoming a great Commonwealth athlete. I am really, really proud," he added.
Listen to the full interview with Chad le Clos
Le Clos who famously went on to beat legend Michael Phelps by 0.05 seconds in the 200m butterfly to claim gold at the London Olympics, is also a world record holder and double FINA World Cup Champion.
Over the six-days of competition, the 22-year old superstar claimed double gold in the 100m and 200m butterfly, silver in the 4x100m relay and four-bronze in the 50m butterfly, 200m individual medley, 4x200m freestyle relay and the 4x100m medley relay, a phenomenal effort that can't be underestimated especially when you take into account the fact that he would have swum around 16-18 races during this period.
The physical and mental preparation for an athlete to take on such a feat requires complete dedication and focus, something Le Clos acknowledged would have been impossible without the support of the team around him.
"It is incredibly difficult and I must thank my team around me. My coach Graham Hill, physiotherapists and doctors that have been helping me recover in between races with massages and ice-baths. I would be lying if I said it was all down to me. I had a team around me which is great, so a big ups to them."
Bert le Clos has become a celebrity in his own right
The next challenge for the 22-year old and his team are the globe trotting rounds of the FINA World Cup beginning at the end of August. The South African is a double FINA winner in 2011 and 2013, however in typical humble fashion, Le Clos was keen to point out the unique experience of participating in the Commonwealth Games and thanked his team and the fans for all the support they have shown throughout the experience.
"From the start we have had so much support for the team. The Commonwealth Games and Olympics are very special and unique compared to the world champs, as there are so many different sporting codes working together.
"We (Team South Africa) are thrilled the way it has turned out, I feel really blessed."
Stay tuned into GiveMeSport to hear more from our Chad le Clos' exclusive interview and don't forget you can follow Chad's world record and medal exploits on his Facebook page.
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