PRETORIA, South Africa, October 3. SUZAAN van Biljon, the 2006 Swimming World African Female Swimmer of the Year, has retired from the sport effective immediately according to Swimming World South African correspondent Neville Smith on his blog Zwemza.
One of the very few African Female Swimmers of the Year non named Kirsty Coventry (the other being Mandy Loots), van Biljon represented South Africa at the Olympics, and also demonstrated herself as a strong short course swimmer with a world title in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2008 Manchester World Short Course Championships. She also earned bronze in the 100-meter breast that year after taking silver in the event two years prior at the 2006 Shanghai World Short Course Championships.
As reported by Smith, van Biljon first jumped onto the national scene in South Africa when she won the 100-meter breast national title as a 14 year old in 2004. She later moved to Pretoria to eventually train at the University of Pretoria Aquatics Club at a time when many of South Africa’s top swimmers were moving to the United States for their collegiate careers.
Van Biljon released a statement today explaining her decision:
Dearest University of Pretoria
For so many years I have been part of Tuks. I started at your Sport school
in 2005 as a young girl and have grown to be part of this wonderful place.
I regret to inform you that I have decided to retire from swimming and
start a new dream. It has been a tough but wonderful journey and I would
like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved. Tuks Sport and the
HPC have been the most loyal supporters I have ever had and I could have
asked for a better team.
I would never have achieved my goals without your
support and motivation.
I will always be loyal towards these institutes and will always try be
available to help, promote and encourage people to be part of TUKS and HPC.
Words cannot describe my gratitude.
I will dearly miss the people, facilities and positivity around Tuks and
HPC. One day I hope to be part of Tuks in some way again.
Suzaan van Biljon