Myles Brown trained really hard last year. He was eyeing individual medals in the swimming pool at both the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Fina short-course world championships (a 25m event) that took place in Doha, Qatar, in December.
When neither materialised, he was really disappointed – so much so that he decided to take a break from swimming. “The pressure and expectations [from within myself] got the better of me,” he tells me at a coffee shop in Westville, Durban. “I didn’t achieve what I wanted to do and it was quite a big disappointment for me. Straight after Doha, I took one and a half months off swimming.”
Brown spent that month surfing, playing golf and doing a lot of thinking. “A break is obviously not advisable for a swimmer, but for me it was necessary – to figure out why I was doing what I was doing and to regain my love and passion for the sport.”
The break seems to have paid off for the 22-year-old, if his performances at April’s South African National Aquatic Championships in Durban are anything to go by.
Brown dominated the freestyle events at the King’s Park swimming pool, speeding to gold in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle races. On the first day of the championships, he set a new South African 400m freestyle mark of 3:46.08, breaking a record set by Ryk Neethling in 1999. Four days later, Brown broke the South African 800m freestyle record set by Troyden Prinsloo in 2009.
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(a video from last year)