Part-blind pupil makes Rio Olympics swimming team

18 April 2016 - 09:50 By DAVID ISAACSON

Matric pupil Matthew Meyer knew his Olympic qualification bid in the 1500m freestyle at the weekend was going well when he started feeling sick and sore."It's just a general rule that the 1500 is going well if after 1200m you feel sick to your stomach. I was absolutely dying but I went for it," said the Clifton College pupil, who won the last spot in the SA swimming team to the Rio Games in August.Ten men booked their spots at the SA championships in Durban this past week, with Calvyn Justus and Dylan Bosch coming in for relays - if the men's 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley team s qualify .There are no women, no Roland Schoeman and no male 100m freestyler.Only three past Olympians made the team - Chad le Clos, Cameron van der Burgh and Sebastien Rousseau - and 18- year-old Meyer, no relation of 400m individual medley teammate Michael Meyer, is the youngest member of the squad.Distance swimmers normally take cues from their coaches at poolside, but near-sighted Meyer was unable to."I'm kind of blind so looking at my coach is a bit hard. We had a thing where he was going to wave me on . I couldn't really see him too much."But it still worked out - I knew it had to burn and it started to burn so I knew I was on track."He touched in 15min 09.58sec, well inside the qualifying mark of 15:14.77.His looming selection - the final decision is to be made by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), but that should be a formality - will affect his school work, with the squad away from next month until after the Games.But Meyer wasn't fazed. "School can wait," he joked."My academics are right up there. I came in the top three in the grade a couple of years ago so I can still do it . if I can get A aggregates I'll be happy."Meyer, who wants to dip under 15 minutes in Rio in a bid to make the final, started swimming when he was eight."At first I was a breaststroker and now my legs don't work."He did his first 1500m at 13. "I was pulling away in the last 200m and that's when I knew this is for me."

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