South Africa men’s team winning the 4×100-freestyle relay at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens is definitely one of the big highlights in South African sports history. Next year at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio South Africa’s top 100m freestyle swimmers might just do it again. The 20-year old Caydon Muller believes that South Africa can certainly be a medal contender in the relay.
He is even prepared to say that if they can execute their race plan to perfection they might be able to contest for gold. The Tuks/HPC swimmer is not just making bold statements because he can. He has reason to be confident. At last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow he was part of the 4×100 freestyle-relay team who just lost out in the final to Australia.
The Aussies won the gold medal beating the South Africans by 1.73 seconds. The South African’s time of 3:15.17 was the 10th fastest for 2014. Muller was also part of the 4×100 freestyle-relay team that won gold at the African Games in Brazzaville this season.
Muller predicts that Australia, Russia, the US, and France will be the teams they need to beat in order to medal at the Olympic Games. When he was asked who should be in next year’s relay team Muller said he think a team consisting of Chad Le Clos, Myles Brown, Clayton Jimmie and himself will be able to give good reckoning of themselves in Rio. Muller admits being part of the relay-team is at the moment his best chance to compete at the Olympic Games: ‘Although I can feel I am getting stronger in the 50m- and 100m-freestyle I am still a long way off before I will be able to compete with the best but I am definitely getting there. My goal is to be a medal contender at the 2020 Olympic Games.’
He won a bronze medal at the African Games in the 100m-freestyle. His best time so far is 49.93s. The Tuks/HPC swimmer will be competing in two FINA World Cup-events next week.
The first is from 2-3 November in Doha and the second in 6-7 November in Dubai. Muller is really looking forward to compete in Dubai, saying: ‘Two years ago I represented South Africa at the Junior World Championships and it was the most amazing experience. I was able to improve my best time in the 100m-freestyle. There is just something magic about swimming in the Dubai pool. I don’t know how to describe it in words but I just get hyped up when I swam there so maybe I might just again be pleasantly surprised by my performance.’ Muller who matriculated at TuksSport High School used to be an avid athlete and football player but a heel-injury forced him to take up swimming when he was about 13.
He says: ‘I never regretted it. You can say I took to swimming like a fish does to water. At times swimming can be quite a lonesome sport especially when you in the pool for a long hard slog. Then there is no talking to anyone. It is just you and your thoughts in the quietness of the water. Sometimes the words of a specific song get stuck in my mind while I am swimming. Then I will keep repeating the words all the time while I am swimming. The important thing during such a training session is to stay focussed on executing your technique correctly.’
Once Muller has fulfilled his swimming aspirations he wants to study to become a vet. He says: ‘One of dreams is to help wild animals. The ultimate for me would be if I can work with lions or cheetahs.’
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott