2020 Swammy Award For African Coach Of The Year: Rocco Meiring

To see all of our 2020 Swammy Awards, click here.


South African coach Rocco Meiring has earned the 2020 Swammy Award for African Coach of the Year.

Based out of Pretoria, South Africa, Meiring is the head coach of Tuks Swimming Club, home of national record holder Tatjana Schoenmaker, among other swimmers.

Schoenmaker earned her 3rd consecutive Swammy Award for African Female Swimmer of the Year, with Meiring’s star lowering 4 South African breaststroke records over the course of the year. Schoenmaker trains alongside fellow breaststroking ace Kaylene Corbett, who have both qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Like coaches around the world, Meiring has been faced with training disruptions and a rocky Olympic preparation in light of the coronavirus pandemic. South African pools were closed for several months, leading both coaches and athletes to get creative with approaching the 2020 Games.

“I have decided that Schoenmaker and Corbett will be on a ‘train to train’ programme. It is like starting from scratch,” Meiring told IOL this past July. “This will help condition their bodies and be capable of starting to train again.

“If nothing unforeseen happens, they might start working on speed endurance by January. It leaves us with about eight weeks to get them to peak for the Olympic trials (SA Championships).

“In the ‘train to train’ programme they should get to a stage where their bodies are ‘begging’ to do more. Only then can we go onto the next phase. That will be to improve their endurance.”

In addition to these standouts, Meiring also has young Pieter Coetze under his tutelage. Coetze wrangled up a remarkable 6 individual golds at the 2020 South African Regionals.


  • Eugene Da Ponte (RSA) – Head coach of Pretoria Aquatic Club, Da Ponte saw his key protege Lara van Niekerk breakthrough with a big-time long course 50 breaststroke swim. Competing at the NTS Championships in December of 2020, 17-year-old van Niekerk clocked a time of 30.85 to finish as runner-up behind Schoenmaker’s new national record of 30.52. Van Niekerk’s lifetime best entering the meet rested at 31.04 from March of 2019, However, with her 30.85 stunner under Da Ponte’s guidance, van Niekerk now ranks as South Africa’s 3rd fastest performer all-time.

Past Winners:


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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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