Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.
In a country where cricket, soccer and rugby soak up all the media and sponsors, 21 year old Chad Le Clos became a nationally-celebrated icon after beating his idol Michael Phelps in the 200 metre butterfly in London. He would also capture a silver medal behind Phelps in the 100 metre butterfly, while teammate Cameron van der Burgh would win gold in the 100m breaststroke.
Despite canvassing for nearly a year for new sponsorship and coming up dry, SwimSA was assisted at the last minute by the government, SASCOC and FINA who collectively raised R4.2 million ($425k) to help ease the financial burden on the swimming body. The money will fund the trip to World Champs, and also be reallocated to development programs.
You’d think that with the type of success that South Africa had in London, funding would be a non-issue, but in spite of their medal winning performance, the medal haul wasn’t enough to keep Swimming South Africa’s main sponsor – Telkom – from being able to maintain their main sponsorship role.
After London the financially-beleaguered African telecom provider withdrew their annual $1.25 million sponsorship of SwimSA. With sponsorship money gone, and their coffers running dry, there were concerns that some of the South African swimmers going to World Championships would have to pay part of their own way.
As recently as March, SwimSA chief-executive-o’swimming Shaun Adriaanse admitted that while they would be sending athletes to Barcelona, they’d have to personally fund their own flights accommodations.
The South African swimmers going to Barcelona:
Chad le Clos
Cam van der Burgh