As preparations continue for the 2024 Olympics, SA’s teen swimming sensation and Olympian, Pieter Coetzé, says his preparations have been going well and he is ready to bring home more medals.
Speaking in Tshwane at the launch of Swimming South Africa’s High-Performance Academy, Coetzé said he wants to inspire more young people to get into the sport.
The 19-year-old was named the ambassador for the academy.
“It means the world and I’m really honoured. Just to play a small part in developing the sport a bit, I really think the country needs that.”
He says winning is his top priority in Paris and has been training hard towards that.
While swimming is one of the Cinderella sporting codes that produces medals at major events like the Olympics, there has been little financial support for the federation.
Swimming SA has also struggled to meet its transformation targets due to the lack of facilities in the townships and rural areas that can attract swimmers of colour to the sport.
Swimming SA President, Alan Fritz, says the launch of the academy is a huge deal for them as they plan to have 20 more school-based high performance academies across the country.
He says he believes that this will assist them to maintain their status as the number one federation in the country.
“We will have about 10 in Gauteng, four or five in the WC and three in the EC. In addition to this, we are building a world-class high-performance centre in Franschhoek and the vision is to have four or five of them in the country.”
Fritz says he hopes that more swimmers can come from South Africa, especially in townships.
He is also urging municipalities to maintain public pools.
Fritz also says Swimming SA is two years behind schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is doing its best to prepare athletes for Paris.
Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris