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Sep 18 18

Leveaux set to chase Olympic glory

by ZwemZa

Amaury Leveaux

Five years after quitting the pool, Amaury Leveaux, world record holder and Olympic medallist, is returning to swimming aiming at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The 32-year-old Frenchman still holds the short-course world record for the 100m freestyle which he set at the European championships in 2008, when he also broke world records in the 50m free and 50m butterfly.

He won a gold and two silvers as part of French Olympic relay teams and has one individual medal, a silver, in his favourite event, the 50m free, from Beijing in 2008.

The sprint is the event he is targeting.

“I still have something to do in the 50m,” he said. “My goal is to win Olympic gold in Tokyo.”

“I’m made for that, I know it, I feel it,” he said. “I like the challenges, my goal is the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, I’m coming back because I love swimming. I do not feel I have reached the end,” said Leveaux, adding that he did “not need to work” to get in shape.

Since retiring at the age of 28 in 2013, the 2.02m tall swimmer has published his autobiography, ‘Sex, Drugs and Swimming’, which drew a vitriolic portrait of the swimming world and took digs at some members of the French team. He also appeared in French reality TV shows.

He told Le Parisian newspaper that he is negotiating a sponsorship deal to cover his costs, that he planned to train in Los Angeles, starting next month, and that he will have a chef, a cameraman and a film editor with him.


Sep 18 18

Creating internal confidence in your swimming

by ZwemZa

People often make the mistake of thinking that talent is what makes people successful. They see someone like Caeleb Dressel smashing records and breaking barriers and automatically leap to his talent being the difference maker. However, that’s not the case. Let me ask you the following question:

If Caeleb Dressel had absolutely zero confidence in himself as a swimmer, would he be as successful as he is?

You can have all the physical talent in the world, but if you don’t feel confident in yourself and your capabilities, then that talent won’t count for anything because it will never get used. Your lack of confidence and self-belief will suppress your talent from ever expressing itself when you go to compete.

You can always tell whether or not a swimmer is feeling confident when they swim. If they’re feeling confident, you can literally see it in their body language and in how they swim. Their body language exudes confidence behind the block. Their stroke is sharper and more determined. Their turns off the wall are more quick and powerful. Their overall swim is infused with a very visible sense of desire and competitiveness. If someone tries to pass them during a race, they fight back and refuse to be taken over. If they find themselves behind, they dig deep within themselves to try and claw back into the race.

Unconfident swimmers are the opposite. You can always tell when a swimmer isn’t feeling confident, as once again, it shows in their body language and how they swim. Behind the block, they’re constantly slapping, pounding, and hitting themselves because they’re super nervous. Their body language exudes, “I’m scared to swim.” Their stroke looks sloppy and hesitant. Their turns off the wall are slow and weak. Their overall swim looks heavy, weighted, and cumbersome. If someone starts to pass them during a race, they throw in the towel and give up. If they find themselves behind, they assume the race is behind them and that they have no chance of winning.

A confident swimmer will think only about the performance he wants to see happen. He doesn’t think about the performance he doesn’t want to see happen. A confident swimmer is never afraid to push themselves beyond their pain threshold if the situation demands it. A confident swimmer wants to swim against the best and thrives off of a challenge. A confident swimmer doesn’t fear a race. They’re not afraid of a bad time or a bad swim. A confident swimmer believes she can still come from behind to win even if she misses a turn. A confident swimmer doesn’t waste mental energy comparing herself to other swimmers. She will instead focus on her own strengths and what makes her great as opposed to always concerning herself with what everyone else is doing and how their accomplishments stack up against her own. A confident swimmer is comfortable in their own skin and doesn’t need validation or recognition from others in order to believe in themselves.

The great thing about confidence is that it can be trained, developed, and improved. Confidence is a skill. It’s not something a person is born with. It’s not something given to you or bestowed upon you at birth. And, because it’s a skill, that means it can be practiced, learned, and mastered just like any other skill. When working with my swimming clients, I talk about how there are two different kinds of confidence. There’s External Confidence and there’s Internal Confidence.

External Confidence is when your confidence comes primarily from external sources, or sources outside of yourself.

Results –  The times and cuts that you get.

Rewards – The medals, trophies, and prizes you win.

Status – Your ranking or stature within your team or the sport as a whole.

Praise – The compliments and recognition you receive from others.

Comparisons – Measuring yourself and your accomplishments compared to others.

Drawing the bulk of your confidence from these things is a dangerous trap. What’s the problem with trying to gain confidence from external sources? It’s simple: External sources of confidence are temporary. If you look at each of those sources, you’ll notice that each of them are condition-based and, most importantly, are completely outside of your control.

If you depend on results, rewards, status, praise, and comparisons in order to feel confident in yourself as a swimmer, then what’s going to happen to your confidence once your results get worse, you’re not winning rewards, your status goes down, people stop praising you, or you can no longer favorably compare yourself to others? Your confidence is going to disappear right along with them.

What you need and what you want is Internal Confidence. Internal Confidence is when your confidence comes from sources, not from sources outside of yourself, but from you. It’s when your confidence is created and fostered from within, not from things outside of you.

Thoughts – What you think and the way you talk to yourself on a daily basis.

Images – The image you have of yourself as a swimmer.

Values – The principles and ideals that you hold dear and believe in.

Worth – The love you have for yourself regardless of weaknesses or flaws.

Growth – The progress and improvements you make in swimming.


You know the phrase, “If you tell yourself a lie long enough, you’ll start to believe it”? It works because the more you tell yourself something, the more your brain believes it to be true. You could be the best swimmer on planet earth, but if you constantly tell yourself that you’re no good, that you don’t have what it takes, that you’re an awful swimmer or that you’ve “lost it” and you’ll never get it back, then your brain will simply absorb those thoughts, believe them as truth, and help you perform in a way that matches those thoughts.

The opposite is also true. You could be someone who isn’t the best swimmer in the world or someone who’s never won anything. If you constantly tell yourself that you know you’re good enough, that you have what it takes to make it, that you’re not afraid to go up against anyone, that you’re capable of greatness in the water and that you can overcome any challenges or obstacles to succeed against all odds, then your brain will take in THOSE thoughts and believe them to be true. It will help you perform in a way that matches those confident thoughts.


As a swimmer, whether you realize it or not, you have an image in your mind of the swimmer you think you are. You see yourself in a certain way. That image is overwhelmingly influenced by your environment and your experiences that you go through in your sport and in your day-to-day life. Every time you’ve had a bad race or failed in the pool, the image you have of yourself was slightly chipped away at. Every time you swim a great race and experience success, that same image of yourself is improved and enhanced.

To build internal confidence, you need to craft a confident image of yourself. The best way to do this is through Visualization. Visualization is the process of visualizing images in your mind in order to train your brain to act or behave a certain way. Every day, for a set period of time, spend time visualizing yourself, not as the swimmer you currently are, but as the swimmer that you want to be. See yourself having strong body language behind the block. See yourself swimming with the kind of confidence and determination you’d want to have in your competition races. In doing so, you’ll be crafting a confident self-image that matches the confident images you visualized in your mind and your brain will try to help you perform and act in a way that matches those images.


As human beings, many of our decisions, actions, and behaviors are very much driven by the values that are most important to us. Values play the role of acting as our internal compass, helping to guide us in the direction of the decisions we want to make, the actions we want to take, and behaviors we want to exemplify. That’s why identifying and understanding what your own core values are is so important. If you don’t identify them and understand them, then you become like a compass without a needle.

Knowing your values can be a huge source of internal confidence and self-belief. When everything is crumbling around you, and things aren’t going your way, you can always fall back on feeling confident in yourself because you know that you’re the kind of person who knows what they want, knows what they believe in, knows what they stand for, and is willing to stand behind those values no matter what. You’re strong enough to stick to your guns no matter how hard things get. That is true internal confidence.


Personally, I don’t think anyone can ever truly develop real, lasting, internal confidence and become the best version of themselves as a swimmer unless they develop a high sense of self-esteem and self-worth. In other words, you have to learn to love yourself. You have to reach a point where you can accept who you are and the attributes you have, and that includes everything – Strengths, weaknesses, admirable traits, embarrassing flaws, everything. You have to be able to be at peace with your own imperfection.

You’re a human being first and a swimmer second. You’re someone’s son or daughter whom they love. You’re someone’s best friend and closest ally whom they trust unconditionally. You’re someone’s inspiration and source of motivation that they look up to. You are worth more than a time on a board. You’re more valuable to the world and those in your life than whatever results you produce in the pool. Embrace who you are, accept that person, and love that person. Internal Confidence blossoms once you do.


Results will swing. Sometimes they’ll be great, and sometimes they’ll be awful. Sometimes you’ll get amazing results, and sometimes you’ll get terrible results. The one constant that never changes is your growth. Every time you swim, every time you leap off a block into the pool, every time you take a stroke, and every time you kick underwater and turn against a wall, there’s an opportunity for you to improve and grow. Not only that, but most importantly, there’s an opportunity for you to draw confidence from that improvement and growth.

Did you do a better job starting off the block? Draw confidence from that growth. Did you do a better job of executing your underwater kicks? Draw confidence from that growth. Did you produce a better stroke in training this week? Draw confidence from that growth. Did you make faster turns off the wall? Draw confidence from that growth. Whether big or small, there are so many sources of confidence available to you if you simply look for the ways in which you are constantly improving and growing.

The voice inside your head, the image you have of yourself in your mind, the values you hold onto and live by, the love you have for yourself, and the growth you incrementally develop throughout your career are the best sources of confidence you have. Embrace them, utilize them, and feed off of them. You don’t need results, rewards, status, praise, or favorable comparisons in order to feel confident in yourself. True, lasting confidence always comes from within.

Visit Will Jonathan’s website at

Will Jonathan | USA Swimming Contributor

Sep 18 18

Shayna Jack decides against Sydney move with Campbell sisters

by ZwemZa

Shayna Jack has opted not to follow coach Simon Cusack and the Campbell sisters to Sydney. Picture: Liam Kidston

Relay world-record holder Shayna Jack admits she likes certainty in her life and was initially afraid that the loss of her training partners Cate and Bronte Campbell to Sydney could derail her swimming. But she now believes a new and even more exciting chapter is about to open in her career.

Jack, who joined the Campbell sisters and Emma McKeon to set a world record for the 4x100m freestyle relay at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, has opted not to follow her coach Simon Cusack when he moves to Sydney’s north shore to open a high-performance hub based around Pymble Ladies College and Knox Grammar.

“I was given the opportunity to go too, but I decided not,” Jack, 19, told The Australian yesterday. “I’m young and I’ve got the opportunity to explore what works and doesn’t work for me. Simon is a great coach and Cate and Bronte have been great to train with but I had to look at the fact that Sydney was not the best environment for me personally. I don’t have much down there. I would have only been going for my coach and my swimming career.

“Bronte messaged me today and said she would always be there for me as a mentor. I just knew I had made the right decision. I’ve never lived out of home yet, so moving to Sydney would be a very big ask.”

Over the next four weeks Jack intends to “trial” two of the best programs in the country — one run by Michael Bohl, the other by Dean Boxall — to determine which one suits her best. And if at some point in the future she realises that neither program is for her, Cusack has made it clear she can still join him in Sydney.

Cusack admitted it had been difficult for both of them to part company and he admitted that Jack had been uncomfortable telling him she would not be heading south to join his program.

“She was a bit worried about what I was going to say,” Cusack said. “I said you are not beholden to me, you or your swimming ­career. You can be very proud of what you and I have been able to achieve together. I think she has a bright future if she is well managed and she sinks her teeth into wherever she ends up.”

That’s precisely what Jack has in mind. Indeed, when told that Bohl was contemplating expanding her 200m freestyle — an event that Cusack had been grooming her for but then was forced to back off her training when she was hit by problems with her immune system — she was cautiously excited.

“I’m not a big fan of the 200m,” she said. “It is very hard to race mentally. That’s probably the biggest challenge I have, how to swim it mentally and that’s something I have to overcome. So if he (Bohl) has a plan and he thinks that we can work together to make it happen, then I’m all for it. I’m never going to turn it down. It’s always an opportunity to make the (4x200m freestyle) relay team or an individual spot on the Australian team.”

That event has become more attractive than ever following the Pan Pacs meeting in Tokyo last month when Australia upset the Americans to win gold.

Jack could find herself right in the thick of competition for spots, with Bohl’s squad including two key members of the winning relay team, Emma McKeon and Maddie Groves.

Boxall’s squad also has another relay member for Jack to train alongside, rising middle-distance champion Ariarne Titmus.

Wayne Smith | The Australian

Sep 18 18

Amanda Reid: Australian Paralympian ‘exaggerated symptoms’

by ZwemZa

Amanda Reid (The Advertiser)

A Paralympic athlete has been accused of exaggerating symptoms, a BBC investigation has found.

Amanda Reid (formerly Fowler) won a silver medal in cycling for Australia at the Rio Games in 2016.

Her former coach and other athletes who spoke to the BBC’s File on 4 said they were highly suspicious about the changes in her condition.

Reid and her mother did not respond to detailed BBC questions about the allegations.

The Australian Paralympic Committee strongly denied any knowledge of misconduct relating to classification. It said Reid had multiple disabilities and had undergone the same rigorous medical testing as other athletes.

‘No sign of physical impairment’

Reid, who was then known as Amanda Fowler, was classified as an intellectually disabled swimmer when she competed at the London Paralympics in 2012, finishing fifth.

Her new coach after the London Games, Simon Watkins, said Amanda’s mother told him that she thought her daughter may have a rare genetic disorder with symptoms similar to cerebral palsy.

She enquired whether she might be able to change her classification to a physical disability.

He said he was emphatic about his own opinion: “She doesn’t have a physical disability. So there isn’t a way that you get a classification for physical disability. There isn’t one present.”

A fellow swimmer who competed at the same time and who doesn’t want to reveal her name agreed.

“There was absolutely no sign of any sort of physical impairment. She was quite boisterous and used her arms quite a bit for emphasis when she was talking,” she said.

How are disabled athletes assessed?

Disabled athletes are classified by a panel of volunteers based on how their impairment affects their performance.

They are assessed by a technical classifier, often a coach in that sport, and a medical classifier, such as a physiotherapist.

Part of their role is trying to spot intentional misrepresentation, where an athlete might exaggerate the level of their disability so they could be placed in a category where it would be easier for them to win medals.

At a training camp a few months later, Simon Watkins said an official from the governing body Swimming Australia approached him and expressed concerns that at a physiotherapy session Reid “was trying to put on an issue with the leg and foot, which we don’t believe is a real issue”.

‘Quite unbelievable’

Simon Watkins stopped coaching Reid in 2014. When he saw her again in 2015, she was competing as a visually impaired athlete.

He said he was amazed as he had never seen any evidence of this before.

“This is a girl who had been driving a car. So now to be with a white stick… was quite unbelievable.”

His doubts were shared by the fellow swimmer. She said that in her view, Reid used her white stick as if it were a prop. She would also maintain direct eye contact for long periods and then “would suddenly almost put on an act as if she couldn’t see you and wouldn’t be able to meet your eyes directly”.

The swimmer says she didn’t bother to challenge this as she had come across other athletes she thought were exaggerating symptoms: “It’s almost accepted [that] that’s just the way it is and there’s almost no point challenging it.”

Simon Watkins wrote to Swimming Australia to express his concerns. He told them he believed Amanda Reid’s family had made a joke of the classification system and “the integrity of the system in Australia… and makes the country a joke on the international scene”.

Swimming Australia told him the classification for Amanda was ongoing. The BBC asked Swimming Australia about this but they did not reply.

Reid dropped out of competitive swimming.


At the Rio Olympics in 2016 Reid competed as a cyclist in a new classification for physically disabled athletes.

In interviews she said she had cerebral palsy. She won a silver medal in the sprint and at the medal ceremony now walked with a turned-in foot and holding her arm, seemingly with cerebral palsy-like symptoms.

An athlete in the Australian team said he and others were shocked at the change in her physical appearance and there was scepticism about her success: “Going from not medalling in swimming to being a silver medallist at a Para Games is… virtually unheard of, so I guess there’s always going to be a dubious aspect to that.”

Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, said Amanda Reid had followed the normal classification process. They said they would assess whether they needed to investigate the allegations about her classification.

File on 4 has obtained video footage from 2017 showing Amanda Reid walking to her car with no apparent physical disabilities and getting into the driver’s seat.

Robert Shepherd, a former international classifier, watched the footage.

“It is very unlikely that you’ll make that degree of improvement… The presentation that we’ve seen on these videos makes me doubt that she is of a level that would give her the classification she’s got.”

Is it possible to make such rapid improvements with cerebral palsy?

Richard Grunewald, clinical director of neuroscience at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The damage of cerebral palsy is permanent brain damage, it doesn’t come and go.”

The Australian Paralympic Committee said Amanda Reid has multiple impairments and can therefore be classified with a physical, visual or intellectual disability.

They said such cases are not unique and said that her classifications in both cycling and swimming “have followed the international classification rules”.

Paralympic investigations

Before the Rio Paralympics, the International Paralympic Committee investigated 80 athletes for intentional misrepresentation, but none were found to have deliberately exaggerated their disability.

All swimmers are now being reclassified, with the tests in the water being made more rigorous and objective. Some track athletes are also facing reclassification.

File on 4 has learned that a British Paralympic medallist, who has not been named publicly, is currently being investigated for possible cheating.

As part of their evidence gathering, investigators have spoken to former British Paralympic gold medal swimmer Marc Woods, who has voiced his concerns about classification.

He told File on 4 he is worried that young, vulnerable athletes are being manipulated by older coaches to think they are more disabled than they actually are, which he describes as a form of grooming.

“It’s a word that sends shivers down my spine,” he said. “But I think that there can be a process where coaches are using a dialogue, which will eventually lead to an athlete thinking they maybe should be categorised differently.”

Ian Braid used to run the British Athletes Commission, which represents 1,500 elite British athletes. He said during his four years in charge he heard growing concerns about abuse of the classification system, which led to a particularly bizarre incident.

“I was told that in one team event members of the British squad were cheering for another nation, another nation’s athlete, because they believed that a member of their [own] team was in the wrong class,” he said.

The British Paralympic Association (BPA) introduced a new athlete classification code earlier this year. The BPA’s chief executive Tim Hollingsworth doesn’t think cheating is happening on any meaningful scale.

“I don’t see that from the conversations we have with governing bodies,” he says. “I don’t see that from the conversations that we have with athletes.”

| BBC News

Sep 18 18

Olympic swimmer Koga to face 4-year doping ban

by ZwemZa

Junya Koga (Zimbio)

Rio Olympic relay swimmer and 2009 world champion Junya Koga is set to be issued a four-year ban by a FINA doping panel for violating anti-doping rules, sources familiar with the matter said late Monday evening.

Should the sport’s ruling body announce the decision, the 31-year-old Koga, who said in a hearing in late August that the positive test resulted from taking dietary supplements, will be shut out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

According to sources, Koga sought a reduction in sanction at the hearing before an impartial panel in late August, but his request was rejected. He claimed he did not act intentionally.

The swimmer could still appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and have his doping ban overturned or reduced.

Koga, gold medalist in the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the world championships in 2009, missed out on a berth at the 2012 London Olympics but competed in the 4×100 freestyle relay in Rio.

In March, he failed two drug tests for banned muscle-building substances and was kicked off the national team.

Sep 17 18

Sentencing proceedings of former Parktown Boys’ coach postponed

by ZwemZa

The Parktown Boys sexual abuse suspect leaves court with his family. Picture: Masego Mahlaga/EWN

Sentencing proceedings of the former Parktown Boys’ High School assistant water polo coach, who was convicted of the sexual assault of schoolboys, was postponed in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

This, after it emerged that the court was still waiting for a probation officer’s pre-sentencing report.

The 22-year-old pleaded guilty to 144 charges of sexual assault, involving 12 schoolboys between the ages of 13 and 16. Judge Peet Johnson found him guilty on Friday.

He initially faced 327 counts, but pleaded guilty to the 144 counts of sexual assault in August. The court also acquitted him of some charges.

Proceedings are expected to resume on Thursday. The accused is out on bail.

Parents who were in court on Monday, said they were waiting to hear the judge’s comments.

One parent said she wanted to appeal because it seemed to her that the court acquitted the accused of some of the charges on the basis that some witnesses were not credible.

“We understand that the law has very specific requirements. We are still trying to understand how certain acquittals were reached,” the emotional parent said. She added that they were proud of the boys who testified.

“Hopefully the children will start to heal.”

The parent said she also felt that the process was “rushed and there weren’t child specialists called in to help the kids”.

“If you’ve been molested for 18 months, you can’t remember everything. So, to be discredited because you didn’t get the exact number right, we felt that wasn’t a fair representation of what happened to our boys.

“We want to appeal… because we know what happened to our kids.”


Sep 17 18

Xin wins at home; first 2018 gold for Burnell

by ZwemZa

Great Britain’s Jack Burnell during the mens 10km marathon swimming at Fort Copacabana on the eleventh day of the Rio Olympic Games, Brazil.

Despite warm water (29°C), Jack Burnell of Great Britain and Xin Xin from the host country were the fastest and won gold at the 2018 FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series in Qiandao Lake, Chun’an here on Sunday.

In the men’s 10km competition, about 20 swimmers packed as the first group for three laps and 10 swimmers gathered in the last 2.5 kilometres. With a strong finish, Jack Burnell touched the board first in a time of one hour 56 minutes 34.8 seconds, beating Rob Muffels of Germany by 0.1 second.

Olympic and world champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy concluded third in a time of 1:56.35.3 and Rio Olympic champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands fourth, in 1:56.36.8.

“It is my first time in Qiandao Lake and the water is very hot at last. I tried to save energy all the way and came out first. My final sprint was pretty good, especially the last two, three strokes”, Burnell said.

The Italian 1500m freestyle world and Olympic champion Paltrinieri was satisfied with his performance. “I competed in Doha and it is my second Marathon World Series. But it is my first time in China and in Qiandao Lake. I feel pretty good. I just started to swim two, three weeks ago after the European Championships and a short break. I am not in my best shape but I am happy I finished third”, Paltrinieri confessed.

Olympic champion Ferry Weertman said it was pretty hot during the race but that was a good practice for the coming race. “I am happy to be here again to compete in the World Series. The fourth place was really good and I did not have the energy to finish stronger. I am happy I keep the top position on the overall rankings”, said provisional leader of the Series’ classification.

In the women’s competition, Xin Xin brought China a gold medal with a time of 2:06.22.6, ahead of Leonie Beck of Germany (2:06.23.4) and Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil (2:06.23.5). Rio Olympic champion Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands, touched fourth (2:06.24.9).

“I was excited to win the race because most of the best open water swimmers competed in this leg. I wanted to gain more experience from the strong rivals and competition”, said Xin, who had also claimed victory in the Lac Megantic leg in Canada.

Rio Olympic champion Sharon Van Rouwendaal said she was happy with the time and the warm water. “The water should be warmer than this in the coming Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, so it is good to get used to it. It was a good race and made me more tired. The level of open water is developing now with many more strong swimmers”, said the current No. 2 on the women’s ranking.

A total of 75 swimmers from 14 countries competed in the seventh leg of the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series while five swimmers withdrew mid-way due to sickness.

The eighth and last leg of the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series will come to Abu Dhabi on November 9.

Zhou Xin, FINA Media Committee Member

Sep 16 18

CANA Swimming and Open Water Championships conclude in Algiers

by ZwemZa

(The Daily News of Open Water Swimming)

The South African swimming team concluded the 13th CANA Africa Swimming and Open Water Championships today with an outstanding total of 40 medals (12 gold, 18 silver and 10 bronze) and claimed the second spot on the medal table.

Full OWS Results

On the final day of the event, Sasha-Lee Nordengen came close to a medal in the ladies’ 5km Open Water race, in a hard fought swim with Algeria’s Cherouati Souad Nafissa but it was the experienced Algerian that came out on top in 1:02:49.02, while Nordenden finished fourth in 1:04:44.43.

Amica De Jager ended 7th in 1:05:03.59, Samantha Randle came in 9th in 1:05:28.86, Kaitlyn Albertyn was 11th in 1:06:41.92 and Tasneem Ebrahim finished 14th in 1:10:32.17.

In the men’s 5km Open Water race, the battle was between Egypt’s Marwan Elmarawy and Darren Minnies. In the end, it was Elmarawy’s speed that won him the gold in 57:55.21, while the South African finished sixth in 1:01:19.28.

Hein Van Tonder concluded the race in 10th place, clocking 1:03:02.04, while Aiden Peterson and Abdul Malik came in 12th and 13th in 1:04:51.75 and 1:04:59.58, respectively.

Final Medal rankings:

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Egypt 28 14 6 48
South Africa 12 18 10 40
Algeria 3 6 13 22
Tunisia 1 3 8 12
Morocco 0 2 4 6
Zambia 0 1 1 2
Mauritius 0 1 1 2

Supplied by Swimming South Africa

Sep 16 18

Ryan Coetzee wins two medals during the FINA Swimming World Cup in Doha

by ZwemZa

Ryan Coetzee (Times Live)

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Ryan Coetzee was South Africa’s star performer at the Doha leg of the FINA Swimming World Cup over the weekend.

With Chad le Clos suffering from a stomach bug, Coetzee stepped up to the challenge and was on fire during the first night of the competition where he was edged out in the 100m butterfly by the USA’s Michael Andrew.

Andrew, whose parents were born and raised in South Africa, won the 100m butterfly on Thursday evening in a time of 51.83, while Coetzee finished second in 52.20 and Dutch swimmer Mathys Goosen finishing third in 52.99.

The evening also produced a medal for female swimmer Carina Brand who bagged the bronze in the 200m butterfly in 2:35.58.

She finished third in the all-Hungarian affair with triple Olympic gold medallist Katinka Hosszu winning the race in 2:09.26.

On Saturday evening Coetzee raced to another podium place, winning the bronze in the 50m butterfly in 23.54 behind Ukraine’s Andriy Govorov in 22.82 and Andrew in 23.20. Le Clos finished just outside a medal position in fourth place clocking 23.80.

The FINA Swimming World Cup will continue in Eindhoven from 28th to 30th September.

Supplied by Swimming South Africa

Sep 15 18

South African swimmer, Olympic hopeful, set to make a splash at UNT

by ZwemZa

Freshman Carmen Botha of Pretoria, South Africa, listen on Aug. 5 for what she will swim at the next meet. Jordan Collard

Standing at 5 feet, 1 inch with bright blonde hair, Carmen Botha (pronounced boo-eh-tha) is set to be a formidable force on the Mean Green swim team. The South African native learned how to swim from her mother at a very early age and begin competing in the sport at just 7 years old. Botha joined the South African national swim team as a 12-year-old.

“I just did really well there,” Botha said. “For example, my last nationals [in 2017], I placed fourth in one [event] and sixth in the other.” 

In 2016, Botha tried out for the South African Olympic swim team, placing seventh in her event. In order to become an Olympic team member, the athlete must place within the top two race times for any particular swim event. 

After her attempt to make the Olympic team didn’t fare as she had hoped, she turned her attention to swimming at the collegiate level. Her record caught the eye of Mean Green swim coach Brittany Roth.

“Carmen is a really sweet girl,” Roth said. “She’s got a strong work ethic.” 

A few months later, Carmen boarded a plane to take her place on the Mean Green swim team. She said something about North Texas really stuck out to her. 

“I chose UNT because of the location and the campus,” Botha said. “I liked Coach Brittany when we spoke over Skype. The opportunities for swimmers are better in the Americas because college swimming here is bigger. They don’t really have big teams [in South Africa], so if I ever want to swim at a higher level, like at the Olympics, I’d be able to train with faster teammates.”

The move to Denton hasn’t been easy for Carmen, though. From the people and food to the mannerisms, life in North Texas has its differences when compared to her hometown.

“People from Texas are actually really nice, but I feel like I can’t relate to the people from here,” Botha said. “I think we have different values, and our families are different. For example, in South Africa, religion is a huge part of our lives, but here it doesn’t get talked about that much. The manners are a huge difference here. I was in line the other day and I gave [a woman] my spot, and she didn’t just say anything. It bothered me a little. The food and the people have been the biggest difference. The food is just junk food and not as fresh. Back home, we eat more fruit and vegetables and everything is so fresh. It tastes different. The meat tastes so different, and I don’t eat it here. I don’t like bread here — it tastes like cake because it’s so sweet. But the cafeteria food tastes better, it’s healthier and more like what I’m used to.”

She has also seen a clear difference in the way athletes are treated in the U.S.

“Athletes are very important here and in South Africa,” Botha said. “It’s a normal thing, you don’t really get special treatment. [In Denton], they provide a lot, and they care about us more. We have better sports training and health facilities. Everything’s so professional here. It’s so much more elite. You actually feel like a professional sportsman. Back home, you have to pay for everything.” 

Her teammates, some of whom are also international students, have helped her with the adaptation process.

“I really like it because I feel like Americans are much different from Europeans because of the culture, so having other internationals with you experiencing the same things makes it easier to adapt,” Botha said. “It makes me feel more part of the team.”

Fellow international student and teammate Ula Michalczyk said she has found a friend in Botha.

“I really like Carmen, she’s really sweet,” Michalczyk said. “Carmen is very supportive, and we spend a lot of time together. We don’t live together, but one day we started talking to each other and we started becoming closer friends.”

Botha has also had to adapt to differences in the pool. 

“Carmen’s coming from a really unique situation,” Coach Roth said. “Racing here in the U.S. at the college level, we race 25 yards, but that course is not available anywhere else in the world. She’s used to racing the Olympic distance, which is 50 meters (approximately 55 yards). These first few weeks, it’s her learning to race in a shorter capacity. In competition, Carmen swims in an event called the individual medley, and she does that in two different distances. That’s where she’s really found her niche. I see her having a fantastic year. It’ll have a learning curve, but when we show up to our conference championship in February, I think she’s going to surprise a lot of people.”

As far as competing at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Botha has some time to decide. 

“I would love to compete in 2020, but I will have to see because we train in yards here, and I’d have to go back and adapt to a 50-meter pool,” Botha said. “My strategy would be to focus on the finer points and clean up my strokes and turns.”


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