Swimming South Africa has revealed its National Team selections for the 2020/21 season, including the country’s Elite Senior Squad, Senior Squad, Elite Youth Squad, Senior Youth squad, Junior Youth squad, Elite Junior Squad, Junior squad, and Open Water teams.
The selection strategy adhered to the nation’s Long Term Participant Development (LTPD) program, as well as the stringent requirements for the selection of athletes and teams to major events under the jurisdiction of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
Typically squads would have been determined based on results from the South African Junior Nationals and South African Senior Nationals. With both of these competitions having been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the elite swimming squad includes athletes have reached a FINA ‘A’ Olympic qualifying cut. Those athletes are as follows:
As for the open water swimmers, the team includes: Chris McGlynn, Daniel Marais, Hendrik Louw, Michael McGlynn, Carla Antonopolous, Leigh McMorran, Michelle Weber and Robyn Kinghorn.
As with last year’s selections, the SSA states one of its objectives within its policies being that of identifying ‘talented Black swimmers that will deliver medal-winning performances at all levels.
This racial component ties directly into the Swimming South Africa strategy outlined in its ‘transformation’ plan published in the mid-2000s by then-SSA President Jace Naidoo and now carried out by current President Alan Fritz. At the time of its creation, the plan stated that, given the increasing pressure from state and the fact that after more than 12 years of a politically non-racial society, ‘aquatic sport is still not reflective of the broader South African society, and given that our senior provincial and national teams consist almost exclusively of white participants, there has to be a rapid organisational response.’
While black people make up about 80% of South Africa’s population, because of decades of apartheid policies in the country that ended in 1994, this group was often excluded from high levels of sport in the country. This led to the expulsion of South Africa from the IOC and banishment of the country from competing at the Olympic Games.
Additionally, Swimming South Africa notes that ‘while some athletes may receive support largely based on their world ranking, others might not receive the same extent of support. This means that some of the squad activities might be fully funded, partially subsidized or self-funded.
Notable swimmers not making the upper tier, but still qualifying for South Africa’s senior squads include: Rebecca Meder, Ayrton Sweeney, Calvyn Justus, Douglas Erasmus, Erin Gallagher, Ryan Coetzee, Taylor Lovemore, Zane Waddell, Chad Ho (OW)