Nedbank Madibaz swimmers and identical twin brothers Alard and Alaric Basson will represent South Africa in the pool at the World Student Games in Gwanju, South Korea, from July 3 to 14. The Basson brothers made the cut after qualifying at the SA National Aquatic Championships in Durban last month. Alard says: ‘The selection was a very exciting moment for both of us. Knowing that all your hard work and sacrifices are paying off is an amazing feeling.’
The siblings said that participating against the best in the world would give them the opportunity to benchmark their progress. Alaric says: ‘I have been training well and I’m eager to see what I can do when I’m up against the best.’ He will participate in the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly events, while Alaric will take part in the breaststroke events.
The twins said they were expecting a high performance standard and fast times from their rivals. Alard says: ‘Going into the tournament I am aware that it will be challenging but I will learn a lot about racing and international competition.’ His brother adds: ‘I am aiming to swim my personal best so I can make myself and my country proud.’ Although it will be the first time that the 19-year-olds will be competing at the student games, it is not the first time that they will be representing their country.
They participated in the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships in Dubai in 2013 and last year travelled to Botswana for the Youth African Championships. Alard says: ‘Wearing the green and gold has always been my dream since I started swimming, so achieving this is an emotional experience for me.’ Alaric adds: ‘It’s always humbling to know that people look up to you for your achievements and see you as a representative of the country.’
The first-year building students have been putting in long hours in the water and gym in the run-up to the competition in a bid for performances that will catch the eye of selectors for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio. Alard says: ‘We both agree that mental preparation is also of the utmost importance to ensure maximum success though.’ Alaric says: ‘It’s very easy to lose focus when every day is a routine of aching muscles and early mornings. But you have to look forward to what you want to achieve and focus on it with a positive attitude.’
Photo: Nedbank Madibaz swimmers and twin brothers Alard and Alaric Basson will represent South Africa in the pool at the World Student Games in Gwanju, South Korea, from July 3 to 14.