SA women must toughen up in pool – Neethling
OLYMPIC gold medallist Ryk Neethling believes South African women swimmers need to toughen up if they want to challenge for medals at international galas.
“If you compare our women physically to women overseas, they (the overseas swimmers) aren’t bigger but they are much stronger,” Neethling said at the launch of the “Get the Girls to Gold” programme in Johannesburg during the week.
“We are years behind the rest of the world and it is about getting into the gymnasium and putting in the hard work and it is about having the right attitude and conditioning.”
Double Olympic gold medallist Penny Heyns has for long been the shining example for both men and women’s swimmers.
South Africa’s greatest women’s medal haul came at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when Heyns landed gold in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, while Marianne Kriel claimed bronze in the 100m backstroke.
South Africa has never produced a women’s medallist at the world long-course championships, set to start in Barcelona on July 28.
However, South African men’s swimming seems to be going through a purple patch following last year’s London Olympic Games.
Neethling said he expected a greater medal haul at the world championships.
He predicted: “We should win four medals in the 50m backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly,” he said. “In the 50m breaststroke we should win two medals through Guilio Zorzi and Cameron.
“In the ’fly Roland (Schoeman) and in the backstroke Gerhard Zandberg (should) get a medal.” – Sapa