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May 28 15

van der Burgh aims to stay in contention

by ZwemZa
Cameron Van Der Burgh . (Fabrice Coffrini)

Cameron Van Der Burgh . (Fabrice Coffrini)

Olympic breaststroke gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh says he needs to remain among the top swimmers in his specialist event this year if he is to successfully defend his title at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Van der Burgh made a good start to the season with the fourth fastest time in the world this year of 59.78 seconds at the South African National Aquatic Championships in Durban in April.

“The main goal in the year before the Olympic Games is to try and be in contention for the gold next year,” Van der Burgh said at the side of the pool at his base at the University of Pretoria on Wednesday.

“If you are not in the medals this year, you are sort of falling behind and in 2011 the main goal for me was to work my way up to the 100m breaststroke and get up there.”

Since winning the Olympic gold medal in the men’s 100m breaststroke in a world-record time of 58.46 seconds at the London Games there has been an outright assault from young pretenders to usurp him from his throne.

In 2014, British teenager Adam Peaty burst onto the swimming season when he broke Van der Burgh’s 50m breaststroke record in a time of 26.62 seconds at the European Championships in Berlin last August.

Peaty then became the first man to break through the 58-second barrier to slash 0.54 seconds off Van der Burgh’s 100m breaststroke record.

Surrendering his two long-course world records may have been a bitter pill to swallow but Van der Burgh said winning titles and medals remained his focus.

“The main thing is that you keep the medals while records have always meant to be broken but the medals will stand forever and nobody will take that away from me which is the most important thing,” the Tuks HPC swimmer said.

“It is obviously nice to have the world record, I’m not going to say it is not nice but that is not the main goal, it is about winning.”

Van der Burgh will join some of South Africa’s top swimmers including Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos for the Canet-en-Roussillon leg of the Mare Nostrum Series on June 6 and 7.

He said he would be looking to race in as many galas on the European circuit in the build-up to the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia in August.

“European racing is at such great level where the crowd and the atmosphere is so amazing to be there and it pushes,” Van der Burgh said.

“Now I am just going to try and take the momentum forward and get over there to race some of my competitors to feel them out and see where you are in your training. I’m feeling confident and I am happy with my training at the moment.”

Ockert de Villiers – Sport24

May 28 15

SASCOC briefs Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation

by ZwemZa

sascoc_logoSASCOC briefed the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports and Recreation on Tuesday on its preparations for Rio 2016 as well as updated the Committee on Durban’s Bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

In assessing the state of sports in South Africa, President of SASCOC, Gideon Sam, said, “sport in rural areas is in a lamentable state”.

“Lack of infrastructure and funding has left our sports in dire straits. Our schools sports need immediate attention because we are not producing high quality sports men and women. We have to go back to the communities and listen to their needs. Real transformation will only take place if it is done at school level”, said Mr Sam.

“To this end, we, as SASCOC, are encouraging our Federations to have a hand in schools sports”, said Mr Sam.

Addressing the selection criteria for Rio 2016, Mr Sam reiterated that the selection policy has been agreed to and signed between SASCOC and all sporting federations.

“There is going to be a huge debate in the media regarding this qualification criteria, but let us be clear, this has been accepted by all federations and we are urging the portfolio committee to understand this and to dismiss the criticisms that may emanate from certain quarters and athletes who are not selected”, said Mr Sam.

Updating the portfolio committee on the Commonwealth Games Bid, Mark Alexander, chairman of the Durban Commonwealth Games 2022 and SASCOC board member said that the bid is on track and South Africa can be confident that the Games will be successfully hosted in Durban in 2022.

“In meeting with the CGF Assessment team recently, the chairperson, Louise Martin expressed her full confidence in the bid and said that Durban has presented a fantastic proposal” added Mr Alexander.

Mr Alexander noted that the 71 members of the CGF would be visiting Durban to evaluate the city’s value proposition for themselves from 15 July till 9 August 2015.

Tubby Reddy emphasized that the Bid process had to be completed in order for Durban to undergo rigorous scrutiny of its facilities and infrastructure.

“The Bid Committee is cognizant of the perception that the awarding of the Games to Durban is fait accompli. This is not how we view the process because we, as a bid city, want to showcase the world class facilities and infrastructure that we have and to point out that in any contest, Durban would have won the bid”, said Mr Reddy.

Mr Reddy added that “the budget of the Games have been seriously interrogated by National Treasury and we believe that we have a very prudent budget. We call on this committee and parliament to support the bid and to make sure that we are able to host a very successful Games”.

Ezera Tshabangu, General Manager: High Performance, briefed the committee on the state of the high performance athletes and their preparations for the All Africa Games as well as for Rio 2016.

“Our preparations for the All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo in September 2015 as well as for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016 are on track”, said Ms Tshabangu.

The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Ms Beauty Nomvuzo Dlulane, thanked SASCOC for its inputs and voiced the committee’s support for the Bid and for the preparations that SASCOC has undertaken for the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.


May 28 15

The rot continues ………

by ZwemZa

joffers1“Former Fifa vice president Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, who was not one of those held in Switzerland, is accused of soliciting $10m in bribes from South Africa’s government over the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.” – BBC

Should we be surprised?

Go back to 2001 …

“Former Cape Town Olympic bid boss Raymond Ackerman has stepped up his campaign against Sam Ramsamy by claiming that the South African Olympic chief had told him the only way he could win the race to host the 2004 games was through bribery.” – Mail &Guardian

The FIFA scandal and arrests were a long time coming and Andrew Jennings can take a lot of credit from his book “FOUL” which was published in 2006.

The Scottish investigative reporter uncovered the secret world of FIFA which included bribes, vote-rigging and ticket scandals.

Nine years later and his great work has been mirrored.

“Thank you, America & @FBI, for exposing FIFA thieves & saving world football.. OK, just this once, ‘soccer’” – Piers Morgan

“The major federations need to boycott FIFA.” – Gary Linekar

Same goes for South Africa – the major federations need to boycott SASCOC but have any of them got the balls?

After all, many of the officials in the major federations have a buddy, buddy relationship with SASCOC, their backs are covered and they’re enjoying the high life.

SA sport is rotten from the very top and the only remaining hope is that the Hawks get stuck in, like the FBI did with FIFA.

“South Africa paid 10million US dollars (£6.5million) in bribes to secure the 2010 World Cup – and the cash was transferred via a FIFA account, according to the US attorney general’s full indictment against 14 FIFA officials. The money was allegedly paid to former FIFA members Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer. A separate cash payment in 10,000-dollar stacks was collected from a hotel room in Paris from a high-ranking South African bid committee official.” – EUROSPORT

The full story here …

It is sickening to read and one wonders just where those dirty SA funds came from?

Could it be the National Lottery, Department of Sport and Recreation’s conduits (eg. Sports Trust), SASCOC, Gride Investments (SASCOC’s horse racing arm) or AN other?

How many of our teams and athletes could have benefitted from that funding, instead it went to fund a crime.

And let’s not forget this …

“A hand-picked “remunerations committee”, chaired by Dr AA Gouws, recommended the bonuses, totalling about R22 million, be given to Molefi Oliphant, Irvin Khoza and Danny Jordaan for bringing the World Cup to South Africa.”

The Sports Ministry released a very brief statement saying: “Minister Fikile Mbalula has been made aware of these allegations and will respond tomorrow (Thursday). The response will be given by the Minister at the already planned Media Briefing that was communicated on 25 of May.”

Look forward to the Vegas spin on this!

SportsFire Daily

Follow Graeme Joffe on Twitter: @joffersmyboy

Disclaimer: ZwemZa encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on ZwemZa are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of ZwemZa.


May 28 15

Happy Birthday Tara-Lynn Nicholas

by ZwemZa

Tara-Lyn Nicholas103Happy Birthday to Tara-Lynn Nicholas from the ZwemZa Team.
Wishing you a wonderful day and all the success during the forthcoming year.

May 28 15

What is Sports Psychology ?

by ZwemZa

Sports Psychology1Sport psychology is a profession that utilizes psychological theory, research, strategies and applied experience to move individuals toward capturing their highest athletic potentials (talent) by collaboratively working with the athlete, other support staff and coaches. That collaborative work results in increasingly higher levels of performance with a consistent ability to perform on demand – individually, as a team, in the pool, and out of the pool.

Similar to computers and computer systems, we need performance-oriented people who are knowledgeable about “hardware” (strength-conditioning, physiology, bio-mechanics, medicine, physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, nutrition, video analysis); people who are knowledgeable about “software” (psychologist); and people who are knowledgeable about “systems” (coaches.)  These are the members of your “pit crew.”

The most successful NASCAR teams have smart, well-trained, and high-functioning “pit crews” to support the driver. Sport Psychology is an integral part of USA Swimming’s High Performance Pit Crew and you’re the driver! Use your entire pit crew!


  • Nearly all other professional sports in the United States (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, PGA, LPGA, USTA, MLS, Motor Sports, extreme sports, UFC) and many more…
  • A growing number of college & university Athletic Departments
  • USA Swimming and nearly all of our other USA Olympic Teams (summer and winter Olympic sports)
  • The Performing Arts and other stage performers
  • Leadership and Management in Visionary Corporations
  • United States Military Special Operation Forces
  • And the list keeps growing…
  • Clearly, if these other top performers find value in these services, it should be an even clearer message to you that these services can    be very helpful to you!


Generally, two broad categories of assistance are provided. The first deals with helping you become a better athlete. There are a number of programs and strategies that have been designed to enhance your specific athletic performance. The second deals with and resolves issues that are more personal and/or interpersonal. These are challenges that many of us face in life, competitive athletes and non-athletes. Future articles will provide more specific information about these services. For now, it is just important to lay a good foundational understanding of what this sport psychology business is all about!


Sport psychology, when provided by licensed practitioners, is a legally protected confidential process…not a “secret” process. Confidential means that you and your information are considered privileged. Privileged information means that your information belongs to you, and you are the only one who is authorized to communicate that to others. In this day of “social networks”, it is important that we continue to educate others, and each other, about what is personal information versus what is open to the public. Clearly, there are times when it can be helpful to collaborate with others on the pit crew (sport performance). But, without your specific authorization to share that information, it will remain confidential


Sport Psychology is sometimes similar to the process of putting together one of those 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles. A good strategy for putting a puzzle together would be:

  • Dump all the pieces on the table (discuss your situation)
  • Start turning all the pieces face-up (Identify what you want/need to do)
  • Look for the straight edge pieces and the corners (match strategies with your needs/wants)
  • Build the outside frame first (build out programs that are unique to your situation)
  • Begin finding pieces that look similar (fine-tune the tactics and strategies)
  • Begin filling in the puzzle until it is finished (practice the strategies and achieve your goals)

USA Swimming has a consulting Sport Psychologist who is a licensed psychologist specializing in sport and human performance.  These services are available to National Team Athletes. Athletes may contact the Sport Psychologist directly. He is typically on-site at Grand Prix meets, national, and international competitions.

Sport Psychologist: Dr. Jim Bauman

USA Swimming

May 28 15

Park allowed back in pool from Monday

by ZwemZa
Park Tae Hwan

Park Tae Hwan

Olympic gold medallist Park Tae-hwan, serving an 18 month ban for doping, will return to action in a public pool in Seoul on Monday after parents of local school children allowed him to join a class, local media reported.

Park, who became South Korea’s first swimming gold medallist when he won the 400 metre freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Games, was banned by world governing body FINA in March after testing positive for testosterone before September’s Asian Games.

Park’s ban means he isn’t allowed to train at facilities operated by the government or the Korea Swimming Federation (KSF) but he was granted permission on Wednesday to use the Olympic Swimming Pool in Seoul, Yonhap News reported.

The pool is where his coach Roh Min-sang operates. Yonhap, citing facility operators, said parents of other swimmers in the class gave the 25-year-old Park permission to join their children.

Park, also a double world champion and one of the country’s most popular athletes, made a tearful apology in March for the failed test attributed to an injection at a local clinic. Park said he should have taken more care to find out what the doctor was injecting him with.

Last month, the unnamed doctor pleaded not guilty of failing to disclose the substances contained in the injection, as well as violating the medical code and causing Park bodily harm.

The swimmer is scheduled to appear as a witness in the case on June 4.


May 27 15

South African squads heading to Mare Nostrum

by ZwemZa
Myles Brown (Gallo Images)

Myles Brown (Gallo Images)

A South African contingent will be looking to post some impressive performances in the hope of making their mark when they take part in the first event of the 2015 Mare Nostrum Series, the 28th edition of the International Meeting of Canet en Roussilion in Canet, France on the 6 & 7 June.

The Mare Nostrum Series is one of the most popular series of events amongst the swimming fraternity world wide.

A Seagulls contingent which includes Chad le Clos, Erin Gallagher, Myles Brown, Danie Marais, Calvyn Justus, Michelle Webber, Emily Visage,  Dayne Odendaal, Josh Dannhauser and Jamie Isemonger along with coach Graham Hill are currently in Doha, Qatar, where they have been hard at work with preparation for the first leg of Mare Nostrum series in just 12 days.

Paralympian World Record holder Kevin Paul along with the Tuks duo of Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh and the promising Nico Meyer will be leaving early next week to join up with the KZN trio.

Chad le Clos and coach Graham Hill

Chad le Clos and coach Graham Hill

Another local group will leave on Sunday to participate in the Series. These include: Roxanne Brown, Samantha Labuschagne, Evan Matthysen, Bailey Musgrave, Daniel Ronaldson, Catherine Sainsbury, Timothy Sates, Reegan Taite and Peter Wetzler. Managing the team will be Northern Tigers President Anton Jordaan.

From Canet , the Series moves to Barcelona, Spain from 10 & 11 June before concluding in Monaco, Monte Carlo on 13 & 14 June.

Swimming South Africa’s CEO, Shaun Adriaanse, said “We are extremely happy with the swimmers competing at this years’ Mare Nostrum Series and look forward to them showcasing exceptional world class performances. “

“Following their solid performances at the SA National Aquatic Championships in April, the swimmers are completely focused on preparing themselves both physically and mentally for the forthcoming FINA World Championships in Kazan in July.” Adriaanse concluded

ZwemZa will bring you all the news and results from the 2015 Mare Nostrum Series on Africa’s leading aquatics source,

edited & corrected by ZwemZa

May 27 15

Double standards, greed, nepotism and cover up

by ZwemZa

joffers1The Gleneagles Agreement was unanimously approved by the Commonwealth of Nations in 1977.

Sam Ramsamy was the driving force as he petitioned countries to formalise the boycott, which discouraged contact and competition with South Africa due to the apartheid government.

Ramsamy was hailed as a hero.

“He has spent most of his adult life fighting for the eradication of the colour bar in sport and towards creating unity in the sporting arena where selection for teams is based on merit and where athletes of all races are given an equal chance to participate.”

But why is he so silent about what is happening in SA sport today, which has become increasingly corrupt, full or cronyism, quotas (selection of teams not based on merit) and not all races are given an equal chance to participate?

Is his silence governed by the fact that he still has lofty positions within the IOC and FINA and that he has managed to keep “control” of SASCOC with all his merry men in place?

Ramsamy has made millions from sport and still travels around the world. He has a R5.2 million house in Pietermaritzburg bought in 2007 and there’s talk of a mansion in Houghton as well.

So, why spoil a good thing?

A letter to the editor from Graham Metcalf gave me plenty food for thought and it also drew a lot of healthy debate on social media.

Letter: Thanks for exposing corruption in sport. It really is sickening. Thanks for being one of the few to stick their neck out and fight what must seem a losing battle. While there are people like you out there we still have hope. I only wish more would join you and stand up and fight for what is right. I particularly mean the sports stars themselves. If I were them I would quit all SA sporting bodies and form new player run bodies. This might be a radicle step and may lead to banning and non-participation in major sporting events, but so what! The international publicity of the Proteas, Boks and athletes refusing to compete would surely bring pressure on government to intervene and bring these crooks to book. The embarrassment to the governing bodies of not being able to field proper sides would put a smile on my face. Eventually they would have to resign as international governing bodies would not consider them legitimate, no matter what the government says. Remember during apartheid the governing sporting bodies were sanctioned by the Nat government, but internationally they held no water. The same will apply if the sports men and women stop competing. The USA Olympic athletes had to sacrifice going to Soviet games so it’s not unprecedented that sportsmen take a moral stand. Sure they will lose money and perhaps a few years of their sporting career, but why legitimize such a sick system. It pains me to see our sports stars smiling with Fikile, shaking his hand, acting all buddy buddy, when they probably hate him. Who knows we could even start rebel tours again, but this time our athletes would go overseas to compete. What do you think Graeme? I could do without sport for a number of years to get rid of this cancer. Would you ever think of rallying the troops behind such an idea? Regards Graham

Facebook comments:

As superbly written and truthful as that letter is, simply will never work. Pride and integrity should always remain number 1, however the human element of greed shall always rear its ugly head! As long as those corrupt officials continue to govern, we shall always be holding inquests into where have the funds been misappropriated! That said, hold your head high Joffers, I for one will always stand beside you in your quest for transparency, your belief that it’s about improving and empowering our athletes and not increasing the girth of our clearly already well fed and gravied (never played a day of sport in their lives) corrupt officials!
(Richard Laskey)

Not possible with the amount of cover-up’s and spin. Too much is swept under the carpet and as an example, the same politically approved ‘thugs’ who enrich themselves through sport just keep popping up over and over. The same tainted officials who run SASCOC are in charge of SA’s ‘unopposed” Commonwealth Games bid. Imagine how they are going to line their pockets again by feeding their own business interests via the SASCOC banner. Let’s not even start with clash of interests, mysterious ‘direction’ of Lotto funds to volleyball and table tennis and more…It’s simply the South African way unfortunately and simply written off as opportunism and business sense and heaven forbid you ever raise the word CORRUPTION or MIS-MANAGEMENT. Amen !
(Trevor Cramer)

If, and only if there was political interference in the Protea selection for the semifinal at CWC, then AB and the nucleus of the players should have refused to play! I know their livelihoods are at stake but people “resign” over moral issues too.
(Michael Faber)

U.S. athletes didn’t make the sacrifice themselves, the government made that decision. Never going to happen. Keep up the fight Joffers.

(Michael Balderstone)

Easier said than done. As athletes, we joined the ASA board, but the powers that be didn’t like that too much and, with unlimited power and money, and no accountability, they simply work you out of the system. Also not easy to say athletes must “sacrifice a few years of their career” when careers only span a few years. Would you sit without work for 10 years, making no money and not being able to feed your family? Proportionally to their careers, this is what you are asking athletes to do. Lastly, sport is not only a career for most athletes, it is a passion and, asking them to sacrifice it is like asking them to remove a limb. I agree, corruption must be fought, but why should the athletes suffer even more than they are already?
(Arnaud Malherbe)

I read your daily email (Sportsfire) that you put out. It takes a lot of courage to do what you do. It must very depressing finding out about all the corruption that is happening within most of the sporting bodies. Please keep up the fight. I sure one day you will get the credit and recognition you deserve.
(Nick Watt Pringle)

Most track and field athletes I know have the Olympics as their primary goal, and not earning a living out of sport, of course the money helps but that is only incidental. Most of these athletes only have 2 or maybe 3 chances to go to the Olympics and everything they do is focused on achieving this goal. They sacrifice all life outside of athletics to achieve this, scrape whatever barrel is available for funds to compete to improve their performance. To ask them to sacrifice this is just not an option. An example, today we have a IAAF world challenge event in Dakar, a shortened program with about a 100 athletes from all over the world we have 13 athletes representing South Africa in various disciplines all trying to improve times to qualify for the World Champs later this year, of these 13 athletes, only 1 has any assistance from the “structure” all others pay for themselves while people receive salaries in excess of a R1 million per year, most of them are still students and have sacrificed their academic year to do this. That is the reality!!!
(Johan Erasmus)

The reality is that SA sport is in crisis, the poor athletes are silenced and the administrators who are making millions by hook or by crook are silent as well.

It can’t last.

Ramsamy should now be nailed for his double standards, greed, nepotism and cover up of SASCOC’s corruption and maladministration at an IOC level.

SportsFire Daily

Follow Graeme Joffe on Twitter: @joffersmyboy

Disclaimer: ZwemZa encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on ZwemZa are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of ZwemZa.



May 27 15

Hosszú to take legal action against doping claims

by ZwemZa
Katinka Hosszú (hungarytoday)

Katinka Hosszú (hungarytoday)

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Hungarian swimming legend Katinka Hosszú has denied claims that she had been taking illegal substances to boost her performance.

Ms. Hosszú, who was named FINA Swimmer of the Year in 2014, explained that the article that appeared in Swimming World Magazine’s online edition contains serious errors and even the author has acknowledged that there is no evidence to support the claims. The case will be handled by a team of lawyers in the future, she said.

“I have never taken performance-enhancing substances and I thoroughly believe that there is no money, reputation or victory that could prove that it was worth selling my soul”, the three-times World Champion swimmer said. In reaction to the suggestions that she had been taking illegal substances published in the online article last Wednesday, he read out a statement approved by her lawyers.It stataes that “anyhow, I am able to state here and now that I will tell Mr. Barrett in the appropriate time and location personally that he has committed a serious mistake and gravely offended me – besides doing harm to the sport. His accusations are completely false and he has admitted himself that he holds no evidence whatsoever”, the 26-year-old swimmer said, indicating that the case sparked by the claims of former Canadian swimmer Casey Barrett is now in the hands of a team of lawyers.

May 27 15

Hungary’s Hosszu denies taking performance-enhancing drugs

by ZwemZa
Katinka Hosszú

Katinka Hosszú

Hungary’s three-times world champion Katinka Hosszu said on Tuesday she had “never taken performance-enhancing substances” following allegations by Canada’s former Olympian Casey Barrett that her results were suspicious.

Barrett said in an article in a May issue of Swimming World magazine that Hosszu’s performances, which dwarfed those of all other swimmers, were “incredible”.

Barrett, who swam at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, said he had no “hard proof” of any misdemeanors however.

The article prompted an indignant response from the 26-year-old Hosszu who vehemently denied taking drugs and told a news conference in a Budapest hotel on Tuesday that her legal team was formulating action against Swimming World and Barrett.

“I never took performance-enhancing substances,” she said. “I would not sell my soul for money, fame or victory.

“Cheating is completely alien to me as is shrugging off a self-serving attempt to undermine my credibility by someone completely unknown to me.

“I will tell Mr Barrett at the appropriate time and place that he made a grave mistake, he offended me grossly, and hurt the sport. His accusations are wholly unfounded.”

Hosszu has won her signature medley event at every major meeting she has entered since the 2012 Olympics and been dominant on the professional circuit, becoming the first swimmer last year to earn more than $1 million in prize money.

In his article, Barrett said: “No one competes, consistently, at a higher level than she does. Repeat — no one, ever.

“Not Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky and certainly not Ryan Lochte,” he added referring to the three American greats.

“Her consistency, her ability to recover, and her never-flagging form continues without breakdown.”

Tamas Gyarfas, FINA vice-president and chairman of the Hungarian Swimming Association, said if results alone merited suspicion then questions would be asked of people like 18-times Olympic champion Phelps.

“We never questioned the superhuman results of Phelps, so why do they do this now?” added Gyarfas.

“I think what Phelps did was great. This is why there are tests — and Katinka goes to the toilet (to give urine samples) more than old men suffering from a bad prostate.”


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