Chad Le Clos: Will The 200m Free Be One Of The ‘Fly Ace’s Golden Shots At Rio 2016?

Chad le Clos will soon be open for business at the CLC Academy [Photo: Arena - taken in Dubai, not Cape Town]

A 1:47.54 over 200m freestyle at the Durban round of the South African Grand Prix has sparked speculation that Chad Le Clos, the Olympic 200m butterfly champion and silver medallist over 100m at London 2012, will make the four-lap freestyle another of his title tilts at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games; and why training at the Rio 2016 Olympic pool may be a squeeze come the hour

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Men 200 free is certainly the most open swimming event in Rio, as many as a dozen swimmers or more can win it. The 200 free is on the same night as 200 fly semis, though, so it may affect Le Clos chances in the 200 free.

paolo rubbiani

200 free final will be well before 200 fly semifinals, so I don’t think it would be a problem for LeClos qualifying for 200 fly final.
If LeClos wants to swim a third individual race, 200 free would be the best chance to win a medal and to minimize the impact on fly events.


Chad is zero chance of medalling in 200fs.


Felix, you cannot say that he has a 0 percent chance. If he gets a spot in the final he has a 37.5% chance of getting a medal.

That 1:47 is fairly solid, for this time in the year, considering the closest person to him was only 1:50. He is the current WSC over 200 FS, and he has the stamina of 200 fly/400 medley behind him. Should he have decided to focus on that race, who is to say he couldnt step up. He has a talent for upsetting the pile.

Bad Anon

Le Clos will make the 200free final in Rio if he focused on that event for an individual swim. He swims with a lot of confidence and definitely has the speed and endurance to go 1.45 or better ; whatever it takes to medal. Predicting who will medal in men 200free is pretty crapshoot right now. Defending champ Agnel, Sun and Park (London medallists), the Lochte, Guy, McEvoy, Bidermann, LeClos; that’s already 8 swimmers and yet many more will be going all out to make that final…. The race maybe like women 200free final in Athens 2004 with an unlikely winner emerging

Felix Sanchez

The 200 free is heavily dependent on what shape Agnel can get into. If he gets back to close to his best, he should still have a gap on the field. I expect Guy to improve, but not to peak Agnel standard. Serial contenders like Biedermann, Yang and Lochte will probably be sold enough to tuck in behind him, but certainly many other contenders to sneak onto the podium.

Blah Blah

Woz, If I have a dual with Michael Phelps in the 100m fly, with no one else in the pool, do I have a 50% chance of winning?

paolo rubbiani

Pending injuries, illness and bad shape, men 200 free could be really the most open race in Rio and not only..
We have many swimmers who are pretty sure to swim a 1.45, perhaps a 1.44 high, but none, until now, sure to swim a 1.44 low.
A list: Guy, Agnel, Sun, Park, Hagino, McEvoy, Fraser-Holmes, Lochte, Dwyer (or Rooney?), Stjepanovic, Biedermann.. and also LeClos, in my opinion.
Then we can add Vershuren, Stravius and two russians to have an incredibly narrow field.


This event has been comparatively slow in the past 2 years with no sub 1.45s since 2013. Whilst one would think things will step up in an Olympic year; this cannot always be “taken as read”.

The issue may be who out of the rugby scrum of 1.45 and even 1.46low men has either that ability to step up another level and/or hold their nerve the best on the night. With some, it will be a matter of proving they can produce 3 fast 200s rather than just the one fast time “in isolation”.

Craig Lord

Comparatively, yes, CW, but I think we can expect (think it likely for) the times to step up in Olympic Year. The world champion was 19, for example. He isn’t going to stay put. Hard to see anything like an Agnel performance in the mix from any of them, Agnel included, but I can see three men on low to mid 1:44, occupying the zone of No4,5,6 all-time textile: 1:44.44 Lochte; 1:44.47, Sun; 1:44.80, Park – Sun and Park having fallen foul of anti-doping rules, of course.


Blah Blah – If you were reigning WSC Champ over 100 fly, with 1 Olympic gold medal in an event of equal distance, say, 100 free, i would say you would have a very good chance.

paolo rubbiani

@Craig: “Three men on low to mid 1:44” is a fairly optimistic prediction, even if I obviously agree that we can expect the times to step up in the Olympic Year.
But, if I reconsider the list written above, there are question marks, for different reasons, on almost everyone to really swim a 1.44 low.

I think that just Guy and Stjepanovic could have a sure improvement in their 200 free PBs; LeClos, McEvoy and Hagino could improve as well but their main focus is on other races; Agnel is still struggling to have a decent shape and he could perform every time in the range (1.44-1.46); many doubts upon Sun and Park; Biedermann and Lochte aged..

Anyway, before the end of April, after the national trials (apart from Usa swimmers) we’ll have a far brighter picture.

Craig Lord

Yes, Paolo, trials will give us the bigger clues… but I think 1:44 plus to be in the reach of the first beyond 1:45 on their career bests: Fraser-Holmes, Guy, Hagino, Dwyer and McEvoy – all within 0.5 of 1:45 flat in the range of 10th to 15th all-time fastest in textile, Stjepanovic the man with most to do but showing signs this year of being able to get down that 1:45 flat way. Yes, low 1:44 would be a stretch on what we know so far and, yes, I’d expect the age curve you note to be significant – but then Olympic years tend to raise the bar…


If the winner does not break 1:44,5 and silver and bronze do not break 1:45 the medals should not be awarded :))).

Craig Lord

I think we’ll be spared (and them too), TommyL πŸ™‚


Craig, I agree. However it;s wide open, we will understand more after trials.

Personal Best

It’s shades of the women’s 200free from the late 90s/early 2000s? Winning times were in the 1:58 realm for so long (with the WR 2 seconds faster) before the surge into 1:56s and 1:55s.

1:45 seems to be a bit of a bottleneck in times at the moment.

Craig Lord

With you, Robbos – the glass too opaque as yet πŸ™‚

Bad Anon

Surprisingly 5men went 1.44 at the Shanghai worlds in 2011; Lochte, Phelps ,Bidermann, Park and Agnel. Barring Agnel , the rest plateaued in the Olympic year, Lochte actually regressed and was locked out in 4th (1.45.04) a time that would have won gold in Kazan only last year… so indeed there has been a lack of progress. But judging from history we can expect a breakout and someone like James Guy or Cameron McEvoy can turn out something special ths Olympic year though we’ll have a clearer picture by June after USA trials in Omaha

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