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Rousseau tackles four events at SA’s as he looks to book his Rio ticket
- Updated: April 8, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
United States based Sebastien Rousseau is just one of many South African men and women hunting down Olympic qualifying times at this weekend’s South African Championships in Durban.
And Rousseau will be one of the busier swimmers on the blocks in the championships which start on Sunday. He’ll line up for four events (not to mention the accompanying heats), and there’s nothing shorter than 200 metres.
The former SACS, Cape Town pupil, who turns 26 later this year, won four bronze medals at Commonwealth Games two years ago but by his own admission, didn’t live up to his own high expectations at last year’s World Championships in Russia.
He told Road to Rio 2016: ‘I’ve really put in some good training since World Champs in Kazan. It wasn’t the greatest of competitions for myself, but it gave me some extra motivation leading up to this Olympic year.
‘I went straight from Kazan to the US Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs for an altitude training camp which was extremely beneficial as I was able to sit down with my coaches and plan out everything for this upcoming year. We really put in a good base for this year which I believe gave me a great start for the season.
‘I’ve raced a couple Grand Prix events in the US from November onwards and have seen some promising results. I have a really great training group which has helped push me every day. I’m extremely excited for nationals and just excited to be back in South Africa too. I have been away for a full year focusing on my training, so I have really enjoyed seeing my family and loved just being in South Africa again.’
Currently based at the University of Florida where he graduated two years ago with a Sport and Event Management degree, Rousseau will swim the 400m Individual Medley, 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly and 200m IM.
‘I’m feeling confident in my abilities and my training background, so I believe it’s going to be a very exciting week here in Durban. I’m really excited to race here as well as seeing some of my close friends.’
Of his four events, Rousseau said: ‘My real focus is on the 400 IM and 200 fly which are my best chances. I’m swimming the 200 free in order to try and qualify for the 800m freestyle relay team. My times throughout the season aren’t really a focus, because of how intense our training is. We look more at how I’m swimming the races without a racing suit at most in-season meets. Our focus is on dropping a lot of time at the appropriate competition, so I’m confident in that drop in time.’
And the future for the two-time Olympian?: ‘Well my plans are to stay in Florida for the moment. I don’t have any real plans past the possibility of Rio. So my focus is just on swimming for now and I’m really happy with my coaching staff and training group in Florida. I don’t really want to look into the future too much just yet and focus on this next week and the next couple of months after that. After that, everything will play out and I will have more of an idea on what is to come.’
Picture of Rousseau in 2014 Commonwealth Games action courtesy of Getty Images