Without full-strength relay teams to assist him, swimming star Chad le Clos feels he could be robbed of a record medal haul at the Commonwealth Games.
“I’m very disappointed because there were guys who weren’t selected for the team, which I’m pretty upset about,” Le Clos said.
With 12 career medals already in the bag from the last two editions of the Games, he hoped to lift his career tally to 18, which would make him the most decorated swimmer in the history of the Commonwealth showpiece and would equal the overall Games record held by sport shooters Phil Adams of Australia and Mick Gault of England.
Targeting four individual medals – in the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly events, as well as the 200m freestyle – Le Clos had also hoped for podium places in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays.
However, while a 23-member SA swimming team was announced last month for the Gold Coast Games in April, with the country limited to 99 able-bodied individual athletes across all codes, US-based swimmers Zane Waddell and Chris Reid were omitted from the squad as they did not compete at the national trials.
Leith Shankland was also left out, despite Le Clos offering to give up his qualifying spot for his compatriot in the 100m freestyle, in order to get him in the team, as Shankland achieved the required qualifying standard.
“Maybe I’m being selfish, but my legacy is on the line here,” Le Clos said.
“If we take our strongest team we’re challenging for gold in those relays and it gives me a much easier time to get my target of six medals.”
At the age of 25, Le Clos believed he had the potential to lift his career haul at the 2022 Games in Birmingham, but he did not want to take the risk by missing out on the record this year.
“When the opportunity beckons, when you have the chance to break a record, you must go for it,” he said.
“You can’t say ‘oh well, I’m going to wait for next year’. You don’t hold back. You go for it.”