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Inspired Sweeney ready for the next step upwards
- Updated: August 8, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
Despite finishing last in his heat at the FINA World Championships in Russia this week, SA swimming’s newcomer Ayrton Sweeney is already ready for his next challenge.
The Cape Town youngster qualified as one of five SA swimmers for Russia when he made the mark in the 200-metre breaststroke event at nationals in KwaZulu-Natal.
But then an accident which saw him dislocate and fracture his elbow saw him sadly set back in his preparations and although he was boiling over with frustration he went into the premier swimming event distinctly undercooked.
He ended with a 2min 14.58sec clocking but it was as much as he could have expected after his elbow operations.
‘Yeah I’m happy with my swim.. I really couldn’t have expected anything more than a 2:15,’ he told Road to Rio 2016. ‘I just soaked it all in, the crowd and racing against the best of the best and it was awesome with Cameron [Van der Burgh] in my heat two, the two SA boys in action together, really cool.’
With national and personal coach Graham Hill happy with his performance what’s next up for the former Herzlia school product. ‘Well, the fitness wasn’t there but Graham was happy under the circumstances after what I’ve been through physically and mentally. I came here, swam at World Champs and now it’s time to work towards the Rio Olympics next year. I’m going to work hard towards KZN Championships which will be another marker of where I am.’
Showing remarkable maturity for one so young, he went on to say: ‘I went in with no expectations but to represent my country best as I could and put up a good swim and to make people proud in some sort of way.
‘Sure, there’s lot of work to go through… but I think we’re looking pretty good for next year.’
Picture of Sweeney and Van der Burgh, courtesy of SA team physiotherapist Sandhya Silal