Pair get nod for Italy

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•Young swimmers set to join SA Olympics training camp overseas

‘It is my dream to go to the Olympics one day’

TEENAGE swimmers Bathandwa Dyantyi and Lesley Blignaut have been selected as part of a nine-member squad to join the South African Olympic team on their training camp in Italy next week.

Swim SA is sponsoring the excited team of youngsters from across the country to join the Olympians from June 27 to July 11 in Italy. They stand to benefit from the coaching of SA Olympic team coach, Graham Hill, and will be interacting with top-class athletes, like superstars Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh. They will also compete in the Treviso Swim Competition in Italy, with the aim of achieving personal bests.

GOING SWIMMINGLY: East London teenagers Lesley Blignaut and Bathandwa Dyantyi are looking forward to gaining valuable experience when they join the South African Olympic swimming team at their training camp for the Rio Olympics, in Italy next week Picture: SUPPLIED
GOING SWIMMINGLY: East London teenagers Lesley Blignaut and Bathandwa Dyantyi are looking forward to gaining valuable experience when they join the South African Olympic swimming team at their training camp for the Rio Olympics, in Italy next week Picture: SUPPLIED

Blignaut, 16, who attends Stirling High School and is coached by the Ultimate Swim Club said: “I was so happy when I heard about the trip. I even had tears in my eyes.

“They are a good Olympic squad of strong swimmers with great potential to do well. I hope to pick up what they do before the races and what they eat and how they train and learn from them. It is my dream to go to the Olympics one day,” Blignaut said.

She is looking forward to meeting Olympic gold medalists van der Burgh and le Clos.

“I admire Chad’s underwater work, stroke and kicks. He really is a level above the rest and I hope he beats Michael Phelps in the upcoming Olympics,” she said.

Both athletes expressed their disappointment at the fact that there were no women in the SA Olympic team, which they both dream of making in the future.

GOING SWIMMINGLY: East London teenagers Lesley Blignaut and Bathandwa Dyantyi are looking forward to gaining valuable experience when they join the South African Olympic swimming team at their training camp for the Rio Olympics, in Italy next week Picture: SUPPLIED
GOING SWIMMINGLY: East London teenagers Lesley Blignaut and Bathandwa Dyantyi are looking forward to gaining valuable experience when they join the South African Olympic swimming team at their training camp for the Rio Olympics, in Italy next week Picture: SUPPLIED

Dyantyi of Cambridge High School and Aquanova Swim Club, said she looked forward to having fun, improving her times and gaining experience from Hill. “It has been an emotional past two weeks of training leading up to the trip. I’m really nervous about the races, but I’m proud of my achievement,” Dyantyi said.

“I’m more excited about the training than the sight-seeing. This is definitely one of the highlights of my swimming career [so far],” she said.

Dyantyi will compete in the 200m and 100m backstroke and freestyle events, while Blignaut will compete in the 50m and 100m butterfly and freestyle events.

Both girls thanked their parents and sports clubs for their consistent support.

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