Chad Le Clos had my attention and I decided it was time to learn more
The internet was on fire with his taunting and then blew up once again at this loss. I got on board when I saw him looking to the side at the other swimmers instead of looking at the goal – and soon a picture followed proving the point.
If only he had been as focused on success as he had been focused on others.
I watched another event – completely unrelated to the one that stirred the internet into such a frenzy – and that was when I saw it. SHE looked to the side in the same way he had. It made no sense to me. Why would these elite athletes be so concerned about others – or even more importantly how had they managed to rise to such a place with that kind of focus?
I had to dig in deeper – because what I really needed in my day was a little more distraction.
What I discovered shocked me – and embarrassed me a little – because it changed EVERYTHING that I had believed about a situation I knew nothing about in the first place.
It turns out that side breathing (like most swimmers do in the freestyle) is a technique some put to practice in the butterfly. Although the traditional method of butterfly has the swimmer always looking straight ahead and lifting the head slightly out of the water, this side breathing method keeps the swimmer even with the water.
There are advocates that swear it is the best way and there are those that say the more traditional method is the best way.
That argument was one I would have to address on a different day – when I needed yet another distraction – for now I had to back track on my profound announcement that Chad Le Clos should have been more focused on his goal than on Michael Phelps, because it turns out that what looked to me like a swimmer being distracted was in fact a swimmer utilizing a unique technique that worked for him.
Some Truths about Chad Le Clos
1. He doesn’t hold bad feelings towards Phelps for coming out of retirement and has said that it was a great thing for the sport.
2. He is close to his family and is watching as both his mom and his dad battle cancer – instead of being torn down by their struggle he is dedicating his swims to their struggle. His family joined him in Rio – and it was the first time he had been able to be with them in several months.
3. He beat Michael Phelps in the 2012 Olympics – one of a very limited number of athletes that can make the claim of EVER beating Phelps.
4. He breathes to the side in butterfly to allow him to see his opponents.
5. He choose the 200 meter butterfly BECAUSE it was one of the most grueling races in the sport.
(You can learn more about Chad Le Clos and his journey by visiting the Chad Le Clos website)
I have talked often about the focus and determination of Phelps, so I determined to look into Chad Le Clos as well. Although I can never know the person just from reading words on a page, I felt like the personal posts, answers to fan questions, and comments from others did give me some insight.
It turns out that Le Clos isn’t perfect, but he is determined to reach his goals and to win his golds.
He admitted in the SuperSport.com question and answer session that he does look around at other swimmers. For him, it is a motivation. I still debate that fact, maybe in part because I can be so easily distracted and maybe in part because I know if I am looking left instead of focusing on where I am going then something is likely to get me from the right.
In the end, it all comes back to the same thing. If I am as determined in the pursuit of my purpose as I have been known to be in pointing out the flaws of others then maybe, just maybe I will be able to reach my own gold.