Top Madibaz swimmer Alaric Basson is immersing himself in more ways than one in his preparation for the Summer Universiade in Taipei, Taiwan, in August.
The 21-year-old, who was named NMMU’s sportsman of the year in 2016, has been on a mission to improve his times in a sport where every split second counts.
‘I have been working on a number of aspects to get faster and to become more efficient in the pool,’ said Basson, who notched up silver medals in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events at the national champs in Durban in April.
‘I have been focusing on my starts and turns and have been working on techniques to try and minimise drag. My coach and I have also been looking at ways to make my stroke more efficient.’
The Uitenhage-based student said he had also been hitting the gym to work on his core strength ahead of the Summer Universiade, also known as the World Student Games.
‘Now that I’m done with my exams, I’m able to be more consistent with regard to my gym work as well as putting in more yards in the pool.’
Although he admitted to a penchant for pizza and chicken wings, he said he had not changed his diet much, apart from cutting down on junk food in an effort to keep his energy levels more constant.
He is hoping that his attention to detail will convert into notable performances against his peers. ‘My goals are to improve on my personal best times. I haven’t seen what the competition is like yet, but, based on the 2015 games, it will definitely be tough.’
Basson, who set personal best times in finishing second to Cameron van der Burgh (100m) and Daniel Swanepoel (200m) at the nationals, said the Summer Universiade levelled the playing field somewhat in the sense that, as students, everyone’s focus was divided.
Reflecting on his journey until now, the third-year building sciences student said he started his love affair with the sport at a very early age. ‘I think I was about seven or eight years old.’
He said the rivalry between him and his twin brother, Alard, an accomplished butterfly swimmer, helped them both.
‘We are very competitive in everything we do, but we understand that it helps both of us in the end. Our goal is not to beat each other, but to try and be the best we can be.’
Beyond Taipei, the Madibaz star is eyeing the Olympics Games in Tokyo, Japan, in 2020. ‘It is the dream and the goal, but I have a lot more work to put in before then. It’s all about the improvement.’