Murray off to Rome

Posted on June 01, 2009

He did however not qualify for the World Championships, instead he was selected by Swim SA as future potential and the federation decided to give him as much international exposure as possible before 2012 and beyond.

“I hated it.” Was his first comment after being asked how he felt about not being selected on merit. “But then I had a long chat to my coach, Igor Omalchenko, and realized I need to make the most of it and use it as a learning experience. It still rankles though. Would’ve preferred to have qualified.” Testament to a fighting spirit.

Darren is currently in Matric at the Tuks Sport School. “Fortunately for me, the World Championships are during the holidays, so I do not miss out on any school work. Even though the school is very supportive of us competing and going away, the disruption is still not easy, neither for me nor the school.”

Darren ended up at the School almost by accident. “I heard about the Tuks Sport School through my room mate at Bergvliet High in Cape Town 5 years ago. It sounded good so I decided to go. Swim SA then put me on a bursary and I’ve been here ever since.”

Darren Murray is 18 years old. Within a space of 18 months he has improved his 200m-backstroke time by 3 secs. In 2008 he competed at the World Youth Long Course Championships in Mexico where he finished 3rd in the 100m backstroke. Had he not suffered from food poisoning he may well have gone one better as the 200m backstroke is his stronger event. Darren also competed at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune India in 2008 as well as the Africa Champs that year in Johannesburg.

Darren ascribes his improvements in the pool to the support, training and facilities that were made available to him as part of his bursary at the Tuks Sport School. “We are part of the Tuks Swimming Academy at the HPC. That means we have at our disposal sports science, sports doctors, physiotherapists, massage, top coaches, amazing facilities and now we also have Roland Schoeman training with us. He is amazing, always willing to drop a piece of advice or encouragement. Where else can you rub shoulders with an Olympic Gold Medalist?”

When Darren first came north to Pretoria he battled to adapt. “I missed the lifestyle in Cape Town, my friends, my family. It was tough. But they really look after you here and try and make it as home like as possible. I’ve made some good friends and have traveled a bit. Its great.”

So despite Darren not having made the team to Rome on merit he is nevertheless looking forward to yet another stamp in his passport and the Tuks Sport School have delivered yet another World Championship swimmer.

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