Commonwealth Games Medalist Brad Tandy (RSA) Retires From Swimming


  • Wednesday, April 6th – Monday, April 11th
  • Newton Park Swimming Pool, Gqeberha, South Africa
  • LCM (50m)
  • World Championships/Commonwealth Games Qualifier
  • Psychs
  • Live results on Meet Mobile: “SA National Aquatic SNR-JNR Champ 2022-PE”
  • Livestream

On the penultimate night of competition at the 2022 South African Championships, 30-year-old sprinter Brad Tandy announced his decision to retire from swimming.

Arriving in Gqeberha from the United States just this morning, Tandy earned a time of 22.49 to snag silver in the men’s 50m freestyle behind 17-year-old Ryan Coetze who touched in 22.34 for the win.

Coetze had already qualified for the World Championships and Commonwealth Games earlier in the meet with his 200m free relay leadoff of 22.15.

After the race, Coetze revealed the words Tandy spoke. “He said: ‘Well done, it’s all yours now. You take it from here. So that was a great moment to share with him.

“To win it is great and obviously to race Brad was awesome, and very emotional to see him finishing. He’s one of the greatest guys in the world of swimming. He’s an amazing swimmer and I really got to know him in the village in Tokyo – he was like a mentor to the younger guys on the team, so it was great to experience the Olympics with him,” Coetze said.

Tandy’s career-key moment came when he placed 6th in the men’s 50m freestyle final at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Tandy is also a Commonwealth Games multi-medalist, having earned silver in the 50m freestyle in 2018 on the Gold Coast while also scoring bronze on South Africa’s men’s medley relay.

More recently, Tandy too part in season 2 of the International Swimming League (ISL) as a member of the Tokyo Frog Kings.

Prior to his professional career, Tandy was a highly-successful student-athlete at the University of Arizona. In his Wildcat days, Tandy was a 4-time All-American, earning an NCAA title in the 50m free in 2014.

On his decision to retire, Tandy said of today’s race, “It’s quite an emotional one for me. They always say the starting is the hard part, but they don’t really give you a heads up on the finishing.

“I was going to be happy with whatever I swam, just to be back here in South Africa, seeing the crowd. I didn’t win it, but I still got the applause… it means a lot to me.”

A resident of Arizona, Tandy said, “I think it’s time for the next chapter of my life.

“To be honest, the little boy from Ladysmith, what I have achieved has surpassed all goals I set out. I could have retired happy after winning my first national championships. I’ve just been blessed and blessed in the sport but I just feel like all the stars are aligning, I’m getting married, job, right age – it feels good. There are some great up and coming swimming so I’m leaving it in good hands.”

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Tea rex
9 months ago

I think he started doing the over-arm start before Dressel made it popular. Always electric. A surprisingly good breaststroker, too.

Reply to  Tea rex
9 months ago

Both of them are far from the first to use that technique. Some Brazilian swimmers had been using it since at least the mid-2000s (like Felipe Franca), Schoeman used some version of it since at least 2002, and it is also written about in Dr. Ernest Maglischo’s “Swimming Fastest” published in 2003–Maglischo may have written about it in earlier versions of this book but I only have this last edition.

It would be nice if someone could try and trace the history of this start, and I think a good place to start would be Sergio Lopez since I think he’s the one who taught it to Dressel. Would be interested to see where he learned that idea from.

9 months ago

NCAA events are in yards (not meters)

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Zona
9 months ago

Not always. There’s been at least one LCM NCAAs before an Olympics. Tandy won in SCY, but just a clarification.

Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
9 months ago

Just an FYI— Ryan Coetzee is a 26 year old SA swimmer who trains in the U.S. and was not at SA Nationals. Pieter Coetzee is 17 years old. Different dude. It’s a really common Afrikaans surname.

Reply to  Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
9 months ago

Pieter’s last name is also spelled Coetze, with one ‘e’ at the end, unlike Ryan who has two. There is no relation between the two.

9 months ago

Congrats on the career to the one of the best JuCo swimmers ever

Math Magician
Reply to  DCSwim
9 months ago

Sad that the place he got his collegiate start, Indian River State College, gets no mention in the article. It was a stepping stone for his success on the NCAA and International levels. His 19.08 in the 50 free at the NJCAA champs his freshman year was the the fastest time in the country at any collegiate level when he swam in March of that year.

9 months ago

Best of luck in his next career! The man with one of the best starts of all time.

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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