John arrived at College in 2012 and immediately showed that he was a swimmer to be watched. In his very first Inter-House gala he won all five of his events and shared the best junior swimmer award. During that year he set four new school records and represented Eastern Province clubs at the inter provincial clubs quadrangular gala between Eastern Province, Free State, Boarder and the South Western Districts. He medalled at this gala. This set the trend for his swimming career at St Andrew’s College as the accolades kept pouring in.
He holds thirteen Inter-House Gala records and eight school records in various backstroke and freestyle events. He has won the best junior or senior swimmer award at the Inter-House gala for all five years he has been at College. He has been awarded school colours every year since his Grade 9 year. He has represented Eastern Province five years in a row and medalled at every one of the quadrangular galas. In December 2015 the SA schools gala was reintroduced. He won a silver medal for the 50 m backstroke event and three bronze medals for the 100m backstroke and two relay events.
Since 2014 he has been selected to participate in the SA Short Course gala. This is an open event in which he competes against the top swimmers in the country. In 2015 he narrowly missed qualifying for the semi-finals in the 50m and 100m backstroke events at this gala. In 2015 he also qualified for level 3 Nationals where he finished 8th in the country in 50m backstroke and 13th for 100m backstroke in the U18 age group. This is the first time since we started participating in club swimming that a St Andrew’s College boy had made a final or semi-final event at this level of swimming.
Despite not being a long distance swimmer, in 2016, he showed remarkable strength and determination in winning the senior river mile. One of the highlights to date in his swimming career was his participation in the SA Invitational Grand Prix. In this gala the top South African swimmers compete against top provincial swimmers. Unfortunately John was not able to take up his place in the final he qualified for owning to water polo commitments at school. But according to his times after the heats he finished fourth in the country for 100m backstroke and swam a SA qualifying time.
Much excitement still lies ahead for John this year. He has once again been selected for level 3 Nationals but the absolute highlight is that he has also qualified for Senior Nationals. At this gala the squad is selected for the Olympic Games to be held later this year. South African swimmers who have been training all over the world return to South Africa as hopefuls for the Olympic squad. John will be coming up against the best South Africa has to offer. This is a remarkable achievement for a school boy swimmer and we wish him well in this endeavour.
John has also shown excellent leadership qualities. In 2015 he was elected Vice-Captain of swimming and in 2016 he was made Captain. He could always be relied upon to organize teams and to get swimmers to events on time. He was also responsible for selecting the best Upper House swimming squad possible for the last three Inter-House galas. He is a wonderful role model for the sport and has proved time and again that hard work and dedication can lead to excellence. He has always been faced with the conflict between team sport and individual sport and has proven that with careful planning it is possible to give of your best to both. John’s Captaincy this year has been very strong and he played an excellent role in filling the gaps that sometimes occurred during a period when the staff leadership of the sport was under transition. He is a young man who can be admired for his dedication and hard work.