TuksSwimming head coach Meiring worries about the impact of load-shedding on Commonwealth Games preparation

Posted on April 14, 2022

Load-shedding could impact the results of the South African swimmers during the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which will be held from 28 July to 8 August.

According to Eskom's scenario planning, South Africans should brace themselves for 50 plus days of rolling blackouts during the coming winter months.

"I won't lie. Load-shedding is, to me, a big worry. It is unfair to expect swimmers to win medals at the Commonwealth Games when they train in unheated pools during the winter," said TuksSwimming  head coach Rocco Meiring.

According to Meiring he still has to decide whether his swimmers will compete internationally before the Games.

"My frustration is who will fund us if we want to compete in a few warmup events. There is no money. It is sort of ironic that when athletes and coaches need support, not the administrators nor the government is seemingly able to help. To me, it is a scenario of expecting South African athletes to go to 'war’ with one hand tied behind their back. Still, we get the results."

Meiring can't help but be excited that six of the nine swimmers who have qualified to compete at the Commonwealth Games and World Championships are based in South Africa.

Tatjana Schoenmaker (50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke), Kaylene Corbett (200m breaststroke) and Pieter Coetzé  (50m, 100m 200m backstroke, 50m freestyle) are the Tuks swimmers who qualified.

Schoenmaker only won the 200m-breaststroke at the national championships. To Meiring, it is still a job done.  

"The last few months had been difficult for Tatjana, but she 'buckled down' when it mattered. It is the sign of a true champion. I have no doubt that she will regain the form that led to her winning gold and silver medals at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

"Kaylene was brilliant. Since coming back from the Tokyo Olympic Games, she was with her 'back against the wall'. She had to catch up with her studies. That did not stop her from giving a 100% during each training session. Somehow, she still had energy left to study. It is incredible, considering that I changed her training programme after the 200m-breaststroke Olympic final.

The 17-year-old Coetzé is, without a doubt, a star in the making. He won the 50m-backstroke, 100m-backstroke and 50m-freestyle and was second in the 50m-butterfly.

The Tuks swimmer scratched from the 200m-backstroke final to focus on the 50m freestyle. He did an individual time trial in the 200m-backstroke, dipping well under the qualifying mark, clocking 1:56.92.

"Pieter is young, hungry, and a man on a mission. That is why he is getting faster each time he competes. We decided to focus on the 50m-freestyle to improve his versatility."

Seven of the ten swimmers who qualified to compete at the Chengdu Summer World University Games ((26 June to 7 July) are from Tuks. They are Kaylene Corbett, Hannah Pearse, Inge Weideman, Andrew Ross, Ross Hartigan, Matthew Randall and Danté Nortjé.

- Author Wilhelm de Swardt
Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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