All American – Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

  23 Mike Lewis | July 24th, 2014 | Featured, International, Lifestyle, National, NCAA Division III, News, Video

pinit fg en rect gray 28 All American Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

Three-time South African Olympian Darian Townsend is now an American citizen, sending shockwaves through the American lineup.

Darian Townsend by Mike Lewis Mesa Grand Prix 300x199 All American Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

Darian Townsend (by Mike Lewis / Mesa Grand Prix)

Darian Townsend is one of the world’s great swimmers and he’s also an outstanding person. Darian’s accomplishments in the pool are phenomenal. He has an Olympic gold medal as a member of South Africa’s famed 2004 400 free relay, which is perhaps the best-known swimming accomplishment in the country’s history. He’s also a former world record holder 200 IM in short course meters, a 3 time Olympian, an 8 time NCAA champion at Arizona, and holds the honor for the most masters world records held by a male in an age group.

Out of the water he’s known for his charismatic personality, humble demeanor, humor and keen insight about swimming (he’s an excellent coach).  Now Darian Townsend is an American citizen.

Townsend has lived in the United States for nearly 10 years and is proud of what he’s accomplished in the country.  He’s firmly planted in US society and is eager to continue both his personal and athletic development.   Townsend’s citizenship now makes him eligible for competition on US national teams and he’ll be competing next month in Irvine at the USA Swimming national championship in Irvine.

Townsend’s program in Irvine will include 100 and 200 free, 200 IM and his “fun” events 100 back and 100 fly.  We caught up with Darian via Skype to discuss his new status, his training with Garrett McCaffrey at the Phoenix Swim Club, his partnership with A3 Performance and the New York Athletic Club.

FINA Rules

The relevant FINA rule is General Rule 2.5, which requires that a swimmer must be a citizen and have lived in a nation for at least one year before competing for them:

GR 2.5 – When a competitor or competition official represents his/her countri in a competition, he/she shall be a citizen, whether by birth or naturalisation, of the nation he/she represents, provided that a naturalised citizen shall have lived in that country for at least one year prior to that competition. Competitors, who have more than one nationality according to the laws of the respective nations must choose one “Sport Nationality” and be affiliated to one Member only.

While there have been several swimmers around the world who have jumped nationalities after competing for one country, it is rare for athletes to switch their sporting citizenship to the United States. That’s because competition in the U.S. is steep for spots on international rosters, and competition for funding is equally as great.

The most recent notable example of this is Mike Alexandrov, who swam at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics before officially changing his sporting citizenship to the U.S.A. in 2009.

USA Swimming Statement on Darian Townsend Gaining US Citizenship

“We are very proud and honored that Darian chose to become a US citizen and represent this great country. America is the land of opportunity, where Darian may now compete for a coveted position on our international teams. His participation at the Phillips 66 National Championships next month in Irvine will be his first attempt to qualify for Team USA, for selection on our Pan Pacific Championships team.

“Darian joins an extremely talented group of National Team swimmers who positively represent our nation in and out of the pool on a daily basis. His longtime commitment, humility and discipline mirror the amazing attributes that all swimmers share and enjoy in our sport.”

See Darian Townsend in action below:

Darian Townsend USMS Nationals by Mike Lewis 2 640x425 All American Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

Darian Townsend USMS Nationals by Mike Lewis

Nathan Adrian Darian Townsend USMS Nationals by Mike Lewis 640x425 All American Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

Keeping it fun. Darian Townsend waited until the last minute to come to the block leaving Nathan Adrian guessing if he’d show for the race. (Photo: Mike Lewis – Courtesy of U.S. Masters Swimming)

Darian Townsend USMS Nationals by Mike Lewis 640x425 All American Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

 

Darian Townsend by Mike Lewis 2 640x425 All American Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

Darian Townsend – 2014 Arena Grand Prix at Mesa (courtesy of Mike Lewis, olavistaphotography.com)

Darian Townsend by Mike Lewis 3 640x426 All American Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

Darian Townsend – 2014 Arena Grand Prix at Mesa (courtesy of Mike Lewis, olavistaphotography.com)

Darian Townsend by Mike Lewis 640x426 All American Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

Darian Townsend – 2014 Arena Grand Prix at Mesa (courtesy of Mike Lewis, olavistaphotography.com)

Darian Townsend by Mike Lewis 640x425 All American Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

Darian Townswend by Mike Lewis 640x425 All American Darian Townsend earns USA Citizenship, Will Compete at U.S. Nationals

Olympic champion Darian Townsend still going strong (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

Comments

  1. coacherik says:
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    This is awesome, the US couldn’t be represented by a better person. Congrats, Darian!

  2. Chris Taylor says:
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    Oh USA is winning the 4×100 free for sure now.

  3. Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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    this is big deal, and DT is swimming fast. Can’t wait to see how he swims over the next 18 months!

  4. SwimNerd says:
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    Wonder how South Africa feels about this the medley will be fine *as long as they get risky and switch chad to back and put Bosch on fly* but the free relays were just starting to come together
    Big time blow for RZA

  5. 2
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    Very cool news. It’s been very cool to see Darian swim at both Masters and USAS meets in Arizona, as well as to see his exploits nationally and internationally. Congrats to him on this. This will certainly make for an even more interesting Nationals.

  6. TheTroubleWithX says:
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    He’ll be in the mix for relay spots for the free relays, but is he really a game-changer at this point in his career?

    • TheTroubleWithX says:
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      Not trying to be negative. Sounds like a great guy to have the US team. Just wondering if he has a legitimate shot at individual events or not.

  7. Pvdh says:
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    Great 100 and 200 free relaxer for the USA!!! Replace ricky berens. This is great.

  8. bobo gigi says:
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    Good news for the American men’s 4X200 relay.

    • aswimfan says:
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      And 4×100 free.

      Townsend is faster than USA’s fourth fastest 100 freestyler. I am looking at you Ryan Lochte.

      • TheTroubleWithX says:
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        Really? I’m not so sure. Here’s how the US men currently stack up, in terms of fastest 100 free since the beginning of 2010:

        1. Adrian
        2. Feigen
        3. Phelps
        4. Jones
        5. Ervin
        6. Grevers
        7. Lochte
        8. Townsend
        9. Dwyer
        10. Dressel

        And this year:
        1. Adrian
        2. Phelps
        3. Ervin
        4. Dwyer
        5. Feigen
        6. Townsend
        7. Lochte
        8. Ellis
        9. Ryan
        10. Boffa

        I’m assuming Adrian and Phelps are pretty much definites, and Feigen just behind them. Sure, maybe Townsend gets 4th, but do that he has to beat Ervin, Grevers, Jones, Lochte, and Dwyer, among others. As it looks right now, I’m not even sure he’ll make the A-final. Am I missing something?

  9. XMan says:
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    Great news for team USA. Now I’m rootimg for Arkady V. And Vlad Morozov to be offered the same privilidge.

    • bobo gigi says:
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      I remember watching an interview with Morozov last year or 2 years ago. He said he really wanted to compete for USA. But he couldn’t become American citizen before 2012 so he swam in London for Russia.

  10. bobo gigi says:
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    USA is very lucky to have now Darian Townsend as American citizen. It could have been Justin Bieber. :mrgreen:

    • Danjohnrob says:
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      This has to be one of the funniest Comments I’ve seen on SwimSwam! I didn’t expect it, and now I have to pick myself off the floor!

    • liquidassets says:
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      Hahaha we dodged that bullet! Biebs would be 100X worse than William Shatner.

  11. GO_USA says:
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    Glad to see someone enter the USA legally! Thank you, Darian, for doing things the right way.
    I am truly happy for this guy, and he will be a great addition to team USA. Go USA!

    • bobo gigi says:
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      Not Fox News here!

      • GO_USA says:
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        That is the problem with the US today, If you have an opinion that is not liberal, you may not express it.

        • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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          GO_USA – please keep your comments to the subject of swimming on this thread. There are other forums that would be more appropriate for you to express your displeasure with America.

  12. Rachel Jordan says:
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    Congratulations and welcome to the wonderful USA a land where all your dreams can come true, Good Luck at Nationals!!!

  13. Average Joe says:
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    The sad thing is the South African Swim governing body will probably say they dont care, “GTFO” mentality.

    They dont look after their athletes like they should.

  14. liquidassets says:
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    Welcome to the Jungle, and with open arms, Townsend! We’re honored and proud to have you. Now nail your taper cause we need some major help on those relays!!

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About Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis is a sports photographer based in La Jolla, California. Mike has been swimming competitively for over 40 years and brings a unique perspective to swim photography.  His work has been featured in print and digital editorial pieces throughout the world.  Mike is also a renowned commercial photographer and …

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