South African Nationals Pool Green; Townsend Not Swimming

South African swimmers are really not very happy with their federation right now.

Though the issue of who would pay for swimmers to travel to the World Championships this summer has been partially resolved (the federation will, though they’ve only committed to the ability to send top athletes, so some may still be footing the bill on their own), new issues have arisen upon arrival in Port Elizabeth.

That’s because on the eve of the meet’s start, the pool is bright green.

Having coached at a pool that had some issues and was bright green, I can pass on the knowledge from our pool guy that the biggest risk is an increased possibility of swimmer’s ear, but having murky water can certainly affect the outcome of the competition as it can obscure swimmers’ views of both their competitors and of the course in terms of knowing where turns are at.

Beyond that news, in an interview with Garrett McCaffrey last night, Arizona-trained swimmer Darian Townsend, after taking a big run at the World Cup over the (South African) summer and then beating Ryan Lochte at the Mesa Grand Prix in the 200 IM on Saturday night, has confirmed that he won’t be swimming at Nationals that run from Monday, April 15th through Saturday, April 20th. There’s a lot of great info in that interview, including a discussion of the financial burden that the current situation in Swimming South Africa is placing upon the athletes, so check it out.

Another shot of the pool, thanks to Megan Stephens

Another shot of the pool, thanks to Megan Stephens

According to the official selection criteria, that means he will be ineligible to swim at this summer’s World Championships. (That selection criteria, which can be seen here, also thinks the meet began last Wednesday).

The qualifying standards are below.

Men’s Standard Women’s Standard
22.33 50 m Freestyle 25.34
48.93 100 m Freestyle 54.86
1.48:42 200 m Freestyle 1.58:74
3.49:55 400 m Freestyle 4.09:81
7.59:06 800 m Freestyle 8.34:33
15.14:38 1500 m Freestyle 16.26:36
54.43 100 m Backstroke 1.01:39
1.58:48 200 m Backstroke 2.11:09
1.00:86 100 m Breaststroke 1.08:63
2.12:78 200 m Breaststroke 2.27:88
52.57 100 m Butterfly 58.89
1.57:03 200 m Butterfly 2.09:38
1.59:99 200 m Ind. Medley 2.14:97
4.18:99 400 m Ind. Medley 4.44:53


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Michael smith

Is this a late April fools joke? Unfortunate that the South African swimmers have to perform in these conditions. Imagine the US or Australian Swimmers arriving at their trials and being expected to perform under these conditions.
Will there be a restructuring of their federation??? After the World Champs debacle and now this on the eve of their trials!!!! Surely a change is necessary.
Good luck to all the swimmers out there. Glad I don’t have to race there.


Given how long it took South Africa’s Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee to notice that former Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene had a tendency to order a new Mercedes for ASA’s use every year, and then declare it surplus goods, and buy it from ASA’s surplus properties list at the end of the year for something like ten rand, I wouldn’t expect them to be terribly interested in trying to shore up their swim federation unless it’s connected to an external scandal. (Chuene only really got caught as a result of everything getting looked at closely when he poorly handled questions about Caster Semenya’s gender.)


I am going for a degree in statistics so a table of numbers always peaks my interest. NERD ALERT: Quick number crunching shows that when going from 100m to 200m the butterfly has a statistically significant smaller ratio, suggesting the swimmers decelerate the most and that’s is the most draining of the strokes. Is it just a coincidence or is this true in practice? Btw, numbers show backstroke has the least deceleration.


butterfly is considered by many to be the hardest stroke. at the recreational and semi-competitive level, many swimmers find butterfly so difficult that they will refuse to compete in the 200 fly or even the 100 fly. at higher levels (HS state finals) that’s not an issue, but many would regard the 200 fly as a tough race, unless they are distance of butterfly specialists according to ESPN sports science, butterfly is more tiring and uses up more energy than the other strokes, which would make sense because it requires constant movement of both arms and a bull body kick. so even at a world class level, people probably get tired more quickly. when adjusted for the start, i personally… Read more »


butterfly is definitely the hardest to maintain so that makes sense. Backstroke allows for you to breathe the entire time so it also makes sense that it would have the least deceleration


That pool is a disgrace to a country that has produced great swimmers for decades, from Karen Muir, Jonty Skinner, Penny Heyns, the mens sprinters of the 2004, Natalie du Toit, Chad Le Clos, etc etc…

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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