Swimming: Le Clos braced for one last duel with Phelps

Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:51pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - South African Chad Le Clos has vowed to do all he can to take the fight to Michael Phelps one last time before the U.S. swimming great heads into retirement.

"I've got a clear head, I will respond," he told reporters after qualifying for the Olympic 100 meters butterfly semifinals.

"I've always said don't judge me when I'm running like a lion, judge me when my back's against the wall."

Phelps and Le Clos clashed last Tuesday in the men's 200m butterfly final, an event that Phelps lost to the South African in a stinging defeat in London four years ago but won back in style in Rio.

The American now has 21 Olympic gold medals and 25 in total.

Phelps has won the 100m butterfly for the last three Games, beating Le Clos to silver in 2012, but the South African has extra motivation this time.

"I need one more gold medal to become the best African athlete in the Olympics," he said. "I've got a gold and two silvers. I need one more gold to pass everyone else."

Casting his mind back to the 200m butterfly final, where he finished fourth, Le Clos said he was baffled by what happened.   Continued...

South Africa's Chad le Clos celebrates gold in the men's 100m butterfly final at the Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia, August 8, 2015.                   REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File photo