Botswana’s latest swimming sensation, James Freeman, is hopeful his exploits in the pool can inspire the country’s upcoming swimmers.
The 16-year-old made history when winning Botswana its very first swimming medals at the Commonwealth Games, both at junior and senior level.
Freeman achieved the feat in the boys’ 1 500m freestyle category at the just ended Youth Commonwealth Games which were held in Nassau, Bahamas.
Having gone into the finals of the boys’ 1 500m freestyle race ranked seventh, Freeman surprised many, including himself, as he splashed his way to a bronze medal at the youth commonwealth games.
Commenting on his historic feat, the Pretoria-based swimmer had this to say: “It makes me feel very proud of my achievement, but I also hope it can inspire younger people so as they take on swimming as a sport in their lives.”
He highlighted that swimming in Botswana at the moment is quite small but there is a lot of talent only if people are willing to put in more effort and be patient they can grow as he has.
Freeman said it was the result of hard work, both at training and at various competitions as well as confidence in his own abilities.
“I have been preparing extremely hard for the games, me and my coach put in a good plan leading up to the Commonwealth Games. We executed that plan well, as I was confident in my ability to improve and learn with my previous times that I recorded,” he added.
He also acknowledged the support from his family, his teammates and Batswana in general, saying their support pushed him to do better.
“Seeing Botswana T-shirts during my races gave me hope and perseverance to do more for the country,” he said.
With his best times at the Youth Commonwealth Games having qualified him for the Youth Olympics with an A standard time and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, albeit with a B standard time, the youngster is now looking forward to what promises to be an exciting two years ahead.
Freeman says he will be heading back to training right away as his next step in his international career is the Youth Olympics next year.
“We have a lot of time to prepare for them, I think if I stay focused and prepare to the best of my ability I succeed,” he added.
Freeman’s secondary coach Thobo Moleko expressed happiness at his charge’s performance, saying he did more than they anticipated and beat the goals he set. “He has sharp skills, he is focused at all times and gives races his all and that gets him remarkable results. I enjoyed being with him in this tour,” Moleko said.
On their preparations for the games, Moleko they went very well with a bit of intense training. To add more to the training, Freeman attended a competition two weeks before heading to Bahamas as a test. Moreover, it is said that during the competition he did not perform well but his coach worked until it went well for him.