Scheepers take to water like fish

Junaid and Zinadeen Scheepers train at the Coronationville swimming pool. They plan to become professional swimmers. / Sandile Ndlovu
Junaid and Zinadeen Scheepers train at the Coronationville swimming pool. They plan to become professional swimmers. / Sandile Ndlovu

When nay-sayers quipped that black men can't swim, they didn't have the Scheepers brothers in mind.

Born in Eldorado Park, south of Johannesburg, Zinadeen and Junaid swim for the Coronationville Swimming Club SuperFins and are already bagging awards.

Zinadeen, better known as "The Machine" because of his strength and speed in the water, brought home eight medals from the Confederation Africaine de Natation Amateur Swimming Championships in Tanzania last month. He won six gold, one bronze and a silver medals.

Next year he flies to Italy to represent Gauteng in a grassroots swimming project.

Zinadeen, 14, excels in the long distance freestyle while his favourite is the breaststroke. This after four years of perfecting his swimming.

"Swimming is a very disciplined sport, it takes a lot of hard work and has taught me a lot," said Zinadeen.

He trains every day at an indoor swimming facility and said it was his brother who made him take up swimming.

Junaid, 19, took part in the SA nationals and youth championships last year and brought home a bronze medal.

Junaid started swimming at the age of seven and was only 15 when he was selected by Sascoc to swim for SA in the African championships in Angola. His parents later enrolled him in a "learn to swim programme" and this is where his true potential showed.

"We could see from a young age how talented these boys were," said father Nathan.

Junaid is also a swimming instructor and is in his first year at the University of Johannesburg where he is studying towards a BCom degree in information systems.

His favourite style is the backstroke but he excels in the butterfly as well.

After moving from club to club, the Scheepers brothers made SuperFins Swim Club their home.

The club was created to transform swimming in communities such as Eldorado Park, Newclare, Coronationville and Westbury.

"For years it has been known that swimming isn't actually a sport in our communities.

"My mission was to change peoples's mind set regarding the sport.

"I am proud of these boys who are representing the club on a larger scale," said Ramon Coutriers, founder and coach of the SuperFins.

The Scheepers brothers plan to become professional swimmers in the near future.

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