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 â€“ so much so that he decided to take a break from swimming. â€œThe pressure and expectations [from within myself] got the better of me,â€ he tells me at a coffee shop in Westville, Durban. â€œI didnâ€™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.â€
Brown spent that month surfing, playing golf and doing a lot of thinking. â€œA break is obviously not advisable for a swimmer, but for me it was necessary â€“ to figure out why I was doing what I was doing and to regain my love and passion for the sport.â€
The break seems to have paid off for the 22-year-old, if his performances at Aprilâ€™s South African National Aquatic Championships in Durban are anything to go by.
Brown dominated the freestyle events at the Kingâ€™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)