Level 2 Championships Overall 3rd by a mere 4 points with a small contingent of swimmers at the recent Level 2 National Championships in East London have left Rocco Meiring (Coach) and Steven Ball (Manager & Coach) at Tuks Swimming grinning from ear to ear.
The objective of these championships for Tuks is to see if their developmental training iro distances and stroke training is on track. The answer is a resounding yes.
“There is a huge amount of talent in this squad that Rocco coaches, along with our younger swimmers from the satellite programs. Obviously with the age group we are dealing with, the focus will be on the 2016 Olympic Games and beyond,” says Tuks Swimming Operations and Performance Manager, Steven Ball.
Tuks Swimming entered 10 swimmers, five of which came from the Squad of Rocco Meiring and by all accounts they acquitted themselves exceptionally well. Ruan Ras, Tove Van Zyl, Marlies Ross, Romy Miller and Demi Lopes (who had competed at the recent Zone IV Swimming Championships) all made their respective finals, in fact all were consistently finishing in the top 5 of those finals. The stats are superb.
Four of the five swimmers finished in the podium at least once; three of these had mulitiple podium finishes; two them won at least one gold medal and one bagged two national titles.
Then there were the relays. Competing in U13 relays as 11/12 year olds the Tuks Swimmers either placed or just missed out on podium finishes.
In particular Marlies Ross and Ruan Ras made a huge impact. Marlies, only 11 years old competed in 6 different events, medaling in 4 of them. Ruan also competed in 6 events and came home with Gold in the 100m and 200m Backstroke. Marlies clinched Gold in the 200m Breaststroke and won silver in the 100m and 200m Backstroke, as well as the 200m IM.
The results are vindication for the team at Tuks Swimming who have spent hours, days, months and even years on developing structures and programs to produce top class swimmers who will eventually reach the world stage. Swimmers such as Roland Schoeman – Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze in Athens in 2004, Suzanne Van Biljon, Willaim Diering and Liza Mari Retief have all come through the system established at Tuks. The plans and programs implemented by Tuks Swimming will not only see the future of the Club and Academy raise the level in Pretoria and Gauteng North, but will also have a national impact and thus continue to raise the bar of Swimming in South Africa.
Such is the vision of Tuks Swimming, that the current crop of swimmers who did so well at the Level 2 Championships in East London are being looked at for 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. It is this far thinking and planning that will secure the future of not only Tuks Swimming, but also that of the country.
Level 3 Age Group Nationals
Tuks also sent a smaller squad than in recent years, to the Level 3 Championships in Sasolburg recently. Many of the swimmers who would usually be competing at these Level 3 Championships were to be competing at the Nationals in Durban in April and thus opted to prepare for those, rather than compete in Sasolburg. Finishing 8th overall was an acceptable result according to Operations and Performance Manager, Steven Ball. “Look we are in a rebuilding phase in these age groups and need to see it as such. We would have done much better had not some of our age groupers not set their mark for the nationals. But it is important that we realize that we cannot forever ride on their success and need to find the next group of swimmers to take their place and that’s what we are doing now. The next group are and will be coming through as seen by the success of our 10, 11 & 12 year olds at the Level 2 championships the weekend after Level 3.”
Within any club swimmers should progress to the higher ranks and the next crop should be identified and brought into the system. This is definitely a key focus of the management and coaches at Tuks Swimming and something they are continuously aware of. The fact that many of their senior age groupers are competing at SA B nationals and Senior Nationals are evident of the progression in development of the Tuks Swimmers and shows for the established Athlete Development Pipeline that Is functioning within the club.