Making waves

Alexander Skinner will be representing Namibia at the 18th FINA World Championships, which is taking place from 12 to 28 July in South Korea.

16 July 2019 | People

Justicia Shipena



Alexander Skinner started swimming at a very young age and has had an exciting pool career to date.

Skinner, who trains at the Dolphins Swimming Club in Windhoek, is set to represent Namibia at the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

He attended Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaatskool (WAP) for 12 years, while also swimming at the Dolphins Swimming Club, and was coached by Janis Stergiades until his final year of high school.

He subsequently decided to further his academic and swimming career in the United States at McKendree University under coach Jimmy Tierney.

“He is a very well-respected coach in the United States, but I have Janis to thank for getting me to the United States,” he said.

Skinner said he swims nine times a week for two hours and hits the gym twice a week for an hour.

This is a total of 20 hours a week, and in the United States you are not allowed to practice more than 20 hours each week.

“This law is enforced by the National Collegiate Athletic Association

(NCAA),” he said.

At the recent Dutch Open Championships in Amersfoort in the Netherlands, Skinner broke two Namibian freestyle records. He swam the 50m freestyle in 23.23 seconds and the 100m free in 50.65 seconds.

According to Skinner his love for water is what inspired him to venture into swimming. His dad is one of his biggest inspirations.

“He was and still is a phenomenal, and he inspired my love for the sport. I love racing and that inspires me every day to get into the pool and practice,” he said.

Skinner added that his pre-race ritual involves listening to music a few hours before a race and a few minutes after. He said he stretches and warms up the same way every time.

Skinner said before a race he looks up at the stand and waves to his parents.

“The best part of swimming is my parents cheering me on the stands, with the biggest smiles on their faces. My parents and hard work is the reason for my success in swimming,” he said.

He mentioned that waking up for a morning swimming practice is a challenge.

However, his biggest challenge is motivating himself when times get tough. He also said he focuses a lot on his academics and the workload at the university is a big challenge, but he loves a good challenge.

Skinner has won quite a few big competitions in Namibia and in the United States. He placed among the top five in three of his races at the nationals in the US.

“I have the national records for the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle,” he said.

“I can, and I will, that is his mantra before jumping in for a race.”

Skinner said one of his most treasured memories is talking to some of the best swimmers in the world, knowing he is one of them.

Apart from swimming, Skinner also participated in other sport codes, such rugby, hockey and athletics until the age of 15.

He said it is very important for youth to do more than one sport at a young age. He said they should start focusing on their favourite sport at the age of 16.

“Sport is crucial in the development of children, and I might not be objective in this, but swimming is one of the best,” he said.

Skinner added that his biggest competition is himself and he wants to better his times and swim under 50 seconds in the 100m freestyle.

“I would be the first Namibian in history to swim under 50 seconds. I want to make myself, my parents and my coaches proud,” he said.



Facts about Skinner:

· He loves sport.

· Family and friends are everything.

· His love for water does not stop at swimming. He surfs every time he is in Swakopmund.

· He trusts the process.

· His dad is his hero.

· Being on the farm is his escape from reality.

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