Swimming South Africa Opens High Performance Academy in Pretoria

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Photo Courtesy: Swimming South Africa on Twitter

Swimming South Africa Opens High Performance Academy in Pretoria

Swimming South Africa on Wednesday unveiled its latest High Performance Academy, based in Pretoria.

The center is based at Garsfontein High School. It will be operated in partnership with Royal Fins Aquatic swimming club.

The High Performance Academy is not the first in Pretoria – one was opened in 2018 at Tyger Valley College. But it is in keeping with a national initiative to open at least 20 such facilities across the country. The aim is to increase capacity for high performance sport and to widen the net of acquiring talent into the Swimming South Africa pipeline.

Olympian Pieter Coetze was on hand at the launch. The native of Pretoria was a three-time medalist at the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and won the World Junior Championship in the men’s 200 backstroke that same year. At only 19, he is one of the nation’s leading hopes for the 2024 Paris Olympics, having finished 24th in the 100 back in Tokyo in 2021.

“I think the initiative is great for young swimmers and to develop the sport a bit from a young age, because that’s when it’s really got a big impression and when you can really start to fall in love with swimming a bit like I did,” Coetze said at the unveiling. “So I think it’s great to get more young swimmers to train and actually swim more than doing other sports, or rather than stopping swimming to do other sports.”

While the country has a long reputation for developing Olympic-caliber talent, the high performance centers aim to supercharge that.

“This will give us a huge base, a huge pool of swimmers which we can draw on and perform at the highest level, Olympics, world champs,” Swimming South Africa’s High Performance Manager Dean Price said. “So this is a big initiative, it’s a laudable initiative, it’s the only thing that’s going to work in our country in the future is to have centres that can sustain themselves, with loadshedding and all the other kinds of problems that the general population have to deal with.

“We really want to encourage schools and clubs to form a relationship where we can come in as Swimming South Africa and establish a High Performance Centre where we can give the swimmers, especially linked to an education system, the opportunity of training and performing at the highest level of sport in the world.”

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