South Africa’s top swimmers will need to return to the pool soon, according to Tuks head coach Rocco Meiring, if they are to regain their best form in the build-up to next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
With the national lockdown having restricted swimmers to dryland training for the last eight weeks, Commonwealth Games 200m breaststroke finalist Kaylene Corbett was struggling with hip and knee injuries, TuksSport confirmed.
“When the lockdown started, she continued to give 100% when training,
but it was on land and she ended up paying for it,” Meiring said of Corbett, who had qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Games before it was postponed by a year.
“It is going to take time for her to fully recover and regain confidence in her body’s abilities.”
Meanwhile, World Championships 200m breaststroke silver medallist Tatjana Schoenmaker was battling to stay motivated with no return to competition in sight.
“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realise it is going to have a severe impact on her performance,” Meiring said.
“I don’t even want to contemplate what will happen if another four to six weeks elapse before she is allowed to swim.”
While government was expected to lift some lockdown restrictions in July, athletes had not yet been given the green light to return to full outdoor training.
Meiring, however, felt the nation’s elite competitors would need to be given some leeway if they were expected to perform well at the Tokyo Games.
“We need to be bold, brave and daring for our athletes, not desert them and leave them in a hole that they cannot climb out on their own,” he said.