DURBAN, South Africa, October 4. FORMERLY one of Great Britain’s premier stars, Robin Francis has changed his allegiance to South Africa, thanks to the persuasion of coach Graham Hill. Although Francis was born in Durban, South Africa, he was raised in England and has spent his career competing for that nation. Now, he’s changing his colors.
A 23-year-old, Francis is a standout in the 200 and 400 individual medley events and advanced to the semifinals of the 200 I.M. at the Athens Olympics. He’s an immediate threat to break South African records in the medley events and is coming off a 4:13.53 clocking in the 400 I.M. (short course) over the weekend. Francis plans on attempting to represent South Africa at next year’s Commonwealth Games and at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
"I came here because I know what Graham is capable of getting out of his swimmers," Francis said. "We've been talking for a while about me coming here. He can make the difference between me getting a gold medal or missing out altogether – there's so much at stake – a fraction of a second is all we are talking about at this level."