South African Breaststroker Lara Van Niekerk Out Of Paris 2024

When Swimming South Africa revealed its roster for the 2024 Olympic Games, national record holder Lara van Niekerk was missing from the lineup of 8 names. Now we know why.

According to the 21-year-old’s Instagram post this week, the breaststroke ace will be missing out on Paris due to ‘circumstances beyond her control.’

Van Niekerk posted on Instagram, “It breaks my heart to be missing out on the Paris Olympic Games as 2024 was the Olympics I have worked for since being a little girl.

“I qualified on 2 different occasions but due to circumstances beyond my control the times did not count. The Olympic dream is not over, it simply got delayed. Good luck to everyone competing, I wish I could be there in person but I will be watching and cheering from home. I will be back. Jeremiah 29:11”

While the administrative error is still being clarified, van Niekerk will be relegated to the sidelines when aquatic action begins in Paris fewer than 60 days from now.

She had beaten the Olympic Qualification Time of 1:06.79 on 2 occasions, both at the 2023 South African National Championships. At that competition, she logged outings of 1:06.65 and 1:06.74 to make the grade.

However, according to South African media, Swimming South Africa did not properly register the times.

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1 month ago

Are we certain this isn’t a Kensey McMahon type situation? This all seems very fishy.

1 month ago

swimming south africa neglected to apply for the events to be qualifying events. SSA incompetence just cost another athlete the olympics. they said they applied and that WA slipped up. WA received no application.
following on ssa denying open water swimmer Amica De Jager an olympic berth, citing an invalid thumbsuck qualifying criteria.
this was just after denying men’s and womens water polo qualification using the same invalid selection criteria, which happened just after ….
ssa deliberately prevented the artistic duet from qualifying in Doha by scratching them an hour before they were due to reasons given to this day. Persistent rumours circulate that these olympic spots were part of some exchange.

SSA is a major… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by jason
1 month ago

As a South African speaking here I don’t think it would make sense to send her. She has not been close to that time this year. And secondly Kaylene Corbett who qualified at trials for the 200M breast behind Tatjana Smith, will be given the 2nd slot I’m assuming.

It makes complete sense that she is given the opportunity to race earlier in the week prior to her main event. She came 5th in Tokyo, 3rd at Commies.

Admittedly she herself missed the OQT for the 100 but she has not traditionally raced fast out of the big meets. I’m pretty sure her and Smith were in full training thru SA trials in April She delivers when it counts.

Reply to  Daniel
1 month ago

Yay SA. But back to the point, with van Niekerk struggling to make the OQT then odds are she won’t make much of a mark in Paris.

1 month ago

in one country you have one chance to qualify – at trials 2024 ( Australia) . Another (New Zealand) you can qualify at trials or at worlds. Why does South Aftrica have so many more opoprtunities to qualify?

Reply to  dave
1 month ago

“Why does South Aftrica have so many more opoprtunities to qualify?”

Why not?

Just Keep Swimming
Reply to  dave
1 month ago

World Aquatics designates a large number of meets as “qualifying meets” throughout the qualifying period where you can hit the qualifying time. In WA’s eyes, as long as you hit the time at an eligible meet then you are eligible to enter.

It is then up to individual countries to choose how they select their team. The major nations like US/AUS/GB/China typically only allow people to qualify at trials. You need to be top 2 at trials and hit the qualifying time. Some medium nations will choose 3 or so meets as qualifying meets and pick the best from those. While other nations will just say whoever has the fastest time and meets the qualifying time at any meet during… Read more »

1 month ago

This is not true. Von Niekerk swam those times in March/April 2023 at meets that were not qualification events in South Africa. It was confusing why she and her coach believed those times would count. Surely, they should have checked the World Aquatics Rules? However, she (swam and) had ample qualifying meets and opportunities to swim the qualifying time in the qualifying Meets that she swam in they are the Mare Nostrum 2023 series, the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka 2023, Durban December 2023 (listed in South Africa as Worlds and Olympic qualifying meets), Doha at the beginning of the year, Nationals which were qualifying, the 16th Africa Aquatics Championship in Angola, and then Mare Nostrum 2024.

1 month ago

This is simply not true, or at best, the half version or narrative of a party who did not qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Swim South Africa never recorded any times incorrectly, to the contrary – the times are available and recorded accordingly.

The events in which Van Niekerk swam those times were known, from the start, as “non-qualifying events”. Any swim coach or professional swimmer, with an eye on the 2024 Olympics, aught to have known the status of these events and that it would not and could not guarantee her a spot on the 2024 Olympic team.

The rules and regulations are available to all and there for a… Read more »

Reply to  Durchenwald
1 month ago

Exactly the point. Van Niekerk and the coach doth protest too much.

1 month ago

Why am I not surprised…

1 month ago

I feel for her. It must be heartbreak. Swimming South Africa is more messed up than I thought.

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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