Swimmer wants to try bigger ponds

Yet another young black South African swimmer is following in the footsteps of Soweto star Thabang Moeketsane, who is one of the promising athletes for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Yet another young black South African swimmer is following in the footsteps of Soweto star Thabang Moeketsane, who is one of the promising athletes for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Victor Lemphane, who turns 20 on July 19, has made history as the first black swimmer to represent University Sports South Africa at the 25th World Student Games, a celebrated biennial international competition which got under way here last Tuesday.

A student at the University of Western Cape in Cape Town, Lemphane is originally from Bedilia in Welkom in the Free State. "It's a great honour for me to have been selected to represent South Africa here in Belgrade, especially being the first black student in my country to feature in swimming at the World Student Games," said Lemphane.

Lemphane started swimming by accident.

"I taught myself how to swim in a dam in Bloemfontein not far away from where my family used to live. When it was raining and the dam was overflowing, I had to swim to access whatever place I wanted to go to.

'Doors started opening for me in 2003 when swimming coach Dave Muller discovered me at a competition organised by the Welkom swimming club.

"I haven't looked back since. It is encouraging that someone like Penny Heynes started competing globally at the World Student Games where she won a gold medal before going on to dominate at the Olympics.

"My aim is to do well here and qualify for the South African national swimming championships in Durban next year so that I can book a place in the World Championships," said Lemphane.

Moeketsane has been the only black swimmer in the South African team at various competitions at senior level.

"I know Thabang very well, he has been doing well and it's good that there are more black swimmers coming through the development ranks. I also want to be part of the South African swimming team at the Olympic Games."

Lemphane has also participated in athletics.

Sanele Madlala, Team South Africa head of delegation in Serbia, said: "We have always produced great sportsmen and women, there is no doubt Victor will also go far in swimming."

* Ramatsiyi Moholoa is in Serbia as a guest of University Sport SA and South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.

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