Minnesota Gets Commitments From Int’l Recruits Van Niekerk, Donker

The Minnesota Gophers have added 2 international recruits to their men’s signing class. Dutch swimmer Tom Donker and South African Kyle Van Niekerk have both signed their national letters of intent to join the Gophers in Fall 2017. They join a recruiting class that also includes international recruits Tim Sates (South Africa) and Eitan Yudashkin (Israel).


Van Niekerk is a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, where he trains with the Waterborn Swimming Club under Coach Peter Williams and attends St. Stithian Boys’ College. He’s primarily a sprint freestyler, but also swims the 50 and 100 butterflies. Van Niekerk has represented South Africa internationally at high-level meets such as the 2015 FINA Junior World Championships in Singapore. He holds 5 South African age group records in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly.

Van Niekirk’s Top Times:

  • 50 free- 23.30
  • 100 free- 51.03
  • 200 free- 1:51.94
  • 100 fly- 56.44


Donker is a native of the Netherlands and competes for them internationally, but he’s also represented Malawi in the past after living there for 15 years. He currently resides in Zambia, where he attends the American International School of Lusaka. He’s primarily a backstroker and butterflier, but also extends his schedule to the sprint freestyles.

Donker currently holds a Dutch National Record for 18 year olds in the 100 meter back, which he set at 56.02 at the LEN European Junior Championships. He’s a 9-time Dutch age group champion in the 50 back, 100 back, 200 back and 50 fly.

Donker’s Top Times (LCM):

  • 100 back- 56.02
  • 200 back- 2:03.42
  • 50 free- 23.98
  • 100 free- 52.42
  • 200 free- 1:55.42
  • 100 fly- 56.11
  • 200 fly- 2:07.79

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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