Swimming World Magazine Announces African Swimmers of the Year

Each year Swimming World Magazine selects the top male and female swimmers from the following regions: Africa, the Pacific Rim, Europe, America, and World.

Starting today, Swimming World will begin announcing the top athletes in each region leading up to the announcement of the Male and Female World Swimmer of the Year on December 1st.  The final announcement will coincide with the official release of the December Swimming World Magazine.  To download and read previous “Swimmers of the Year”, visit the Swimming World Vault and download past December issues.

Male African Swimmer of the Year

For a record fifth straight year, Chad le Clos is the Male African Swimmer of the Year. In earning the honor, he surpasses fellow countryman Roland Schoeman, who won the award four times from 2004 through 2007. A South African has now earned this award every year but one since its inception in 2004.

Le Clos earns the award on the basis of his performance at the Olympic Games in Rio. The 24-year-old shocked many when he picked up a silver medal in the men’s 200 meter free. He took a radical approach to the event through each of the three rounds. The strategy was simple: open up massive leads from the start, and then try to hang on.

It worked. Swimming out of Lane 1 in the final, he was unable to stay with China’s Sun Yang, but he had just enough left in the tank to stave off American Conor Dwyer for the silver by 3-hundredths of a second in 1:45.20, an African record.

A day later, le Clos failed to defend his 2012 gold medal in the 200 fly, where he finished a disappointing fourth (1:54.06), but he rebounded to finish in a three-way tie for silver with Michael Phelps and Laszlo Cseh in the 100 fly (51.14).

Le Clos beat out countryman Cameron van der Burgh, a three-time winner of the award from 2009 to 2011, for the top spot in the voting. Van der Burgh, the first South African man ever to win an individual gold medal in swimming individual gold medal in swimming (100 breast, 2012), picked up a silver medal in the 100 breast final in Rio (58.69).

chad-le-clos-male-african-swimmer-of-the-year-2016

Female African Swimmer of the Year

Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry garnered a record ninth Swimming World Female African Swimmer of the Year accolade after swimming in her fifth Olympics this past summer.

She was just 16 when she competed in her first Summer Games in Sydney in 2000. In Rio, the 32-year-old finished sixth overall in the 200 backstroke (2:08.80) and 11th in the 100 back (1:00.26 in the semifinals). She also carried the flag for Zimbabwe at the closing ceremony.

Coventry has won seven Olympic medals in her career: two gold (200 back in 2004 and 2008), four silver (100 back in 2004 and 2008; 200-400 IM in 2008) and a bronze (200 IM in 2004). She also led the African region in the 50, 100 and 200 back, 200 free and 200 IM.

After a successful 16-year career on the international stage, Coventry will serve as vice president of the International Surfing Association. Additionally, she will continue to be a member on the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission.

kirsty-coventry-female-african-swimmer-of-the-year-2016

3 Comments

3 comments

  1. Steve Haag Sports

    @chadleclos @KirstyCoventry PLEASE CREDIT IMAGES

  2. Jeremy Boone

    @chadleclos @KirstyCoventry SO EXCITED for Kirsty she is the BEST! #GreatSwimmerBetterPerson

  3. skyfall

    @chadleclos @KirstyCoventry doing great!

Author: Taylor Brien

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Taylor Brien is the Assistant Operations Manager and a staff writer at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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