Beijing Paralympics gold medallist swimmer Kevin Paul returned from Rio de Janeiro with three medals this week, writes Mark Etheridge.
Paul was part of a squad of SA para-swimmers who were in action at the Brazilian Open Championships that lasted four days.
The trip however was something of a double-edged sword for the 20-year-old Port Elizabeth swimmer, who competes in the SB9 class. With next year’s Paralympics in London looming large he has to watch his form and fitness right now but he is also nursing a shoulder injury at the same time.
“The trip was really good although I’ve been struggling with a shoulder injury for the last month. So I’m very happy with how things went over there because there were a few events that I couldn’t push in because of the shoulder.
“But I was still happy with my overall performance ÔÇô I only swam four events at this meeting because I was scared of hurting my shoulder even more. I got gold in the 100m breaststroke and 200m Individual Medley and bronze in the 50m freestyle. I also swam the 100m freestyle but went easy on that day because of the shoulder and got eighth place.”
Currently studying for a law degree at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Paul hopes to be able to devote more time to get his shoulder sorted out. “The shoulder isn’t bad enough to need an operation, thankfully, but we’re just going to be working together with the physic to make sure that’s 100% better before pushing again. I don’t want to get back in to early and then it comes back next year before London.
“It’s been a long year so it could be a good thing to have a little rest. If things get better quickly then I’ll be swimming in our Eastern Province Champs here in December.”
As for the rest of his trip? “Brazil itself is amazing! I managed to see a lot of what Rio has on offer and the team made it even more enjoyable “