Poewe to Swim for Germany

By Oene Rusticus

BERLIN, May 29. SARAH Poewe's swimming future will be in Germany, SwimInfo has learned. However, South Africa's top women's breaststroker is hoping to represent South Africa one last time at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Yesterday, Poewe confirmed that she would break her ties with Swimming South Africa after the Commonwealth Games.

Poewe received support from an unexpected source. The President of Swimming South Africa, Gideon Sam, said that although her departure for Germany was a big setback to swimming in this country, the body would not stand in her way and would help her through the transition – provided that she swam for South Africa at the Commonwealth Games.

"Normally there is a waiting period of one year before a swimmer could swim for an adopted country. We are prepared to waive that clause as long as she still competes for South Africa in Manchester," Sam said.

The decision was a very difficult and emotional one for Poewe. She represented South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"I represented South Africa with pride, but I had to think of my future. It was a very difficult decision, but I believe my swimming future is in Germany. I thought long and hard about it, but now that I have made the decision, nothing will change my mind," Poewe said yesterday.

"I'm one hundred percent German and at the back of my mind, the possibility of swimming for Germany always existed. I have now reached the stage where I had to think of my future. From here on, I can only look ahead."

Were it not for the fact that she was inexplicably left out off the South African team for the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia, Poewe would probably already have been swimming for Germany.

"I always wanted to compete in the Commonwealth Games. It will be a dream come true to go to Manchester," she said.

This time around, it seems that nothing would stand in the way of taking part in the Commonwealth Games. She was the top women's swimmer at the South African National Trials in Durban and one of the few swimmers who were not put off by the tough qualifying standards.

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