Rebecca Meder Suffered a Ruptured Appendix Three Weeks Before National Championships

21-year-old South African swimmer Rebecca Meder only swam one event at this week’s South African National Championships after suffering a ruptured appendix only three weeks out from the meet.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympian tells SwimSwam that she had an emergency appendectomy three weeks prior to the meet.

That doesn’t mean she’s ruled out from the Paris Games, though. According to the Swimming South Africa qualifying criteria for the Olympic Games, to be eligible for selection a swimmer must hit the World Aquatics “A” standard for the Games within the qualifying period, and compete in the National Championships that concluded on Saturday.

The criteria does not require athletes to hit the Olympic “A” time at the National Championships, however, or even to race an Olympic event.

Meder, then, competed in one event, the 50 meter backstroke, on day 1 of the meet. There, she finished 63rd out of 64 swimmers in prelims in a time of 35.60.

Meder has hit the Olympic “A” standard in the 200 IM three times in the qualifying period.

“I was told by my medical team to not swim the longer events at nationals as I wasn’t allowed to dive or do tumble turns (I still have internal stitches and it was just too risky),” Meder said. “We all decided that the best event for me to participate in was the 50 back as I didn’t have to do a proper dive and no tumble turns are required.”

Meder is primarily an IMer. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as a teenager, she finished 23rd in the 200 IM (2:14.79). At the 2023 World Championships, she was 10th in that event in 2:11.16 after a National Record of 2:10.95 in prelims. She also placed 21st in the 400 IM in 4:45.68.

In her absence, American-trained Aimee Canny won the 200 IM in 2:12.23, just-outside of the Olympic “A” standard. Canny qualified for the Olympics a day earlier in the meet in the 200 free.

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Ranger Coach
1 month ago

That girl has some guts. I can’t imagine rupturing an organ and then swimming three weeks later, let alone swimming at that level three weeks later.

Alison England
1 month ago

How does anyone even contemplate a backstroke start after abdominal surgery? Surely she was advised against it?

Reply to  Alison England
1 month ago

Guessing she just pushed off the wall.

Alison England
Reply to  Eaglesfan
1 month ago

I gather you don’t know much about abdominal surgery.

Alison England
1 month ago

Who in their right mind does that?

1 month ago

Thanks for this article. I was wondering what happened to her. Would be nice to see a list of who actually has qualifying times from the current qualifying period but from outside of this actual meet. Ie… does Lara Van Niekerk have one?

Not Andrew
1 month ago

Inspiration from carlos sainz

Coach Luke
Reply to  Not Andrew
1 month ago

Came to make this exact comment

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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