Jarred Crous would one day like to be the best in the world like Cameron van der Burgh has been for so many years.
The teenage breaststroker made the first step towards realising his dream when he qualified for the Rio Olympic Games at last week’s South African Swimming Championships in Durban.
Finishing behind Van der Burgh in the 200m breaststroke, the 19-year-old Crous posted a time of 2:11.65 to take four seconds off his previous best time to earn a place to his maiden Games.
”Now the hard work really begins to ensure I can actually compete and not just participate at the Olympics because you want to compete against the best in the world,” Crous said.
”The goal is to become the best one day, so I will have to start working on that now.”The former Crawford College pupil represented South Africa at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics where he featured in the finals of the 50, 100, and 200m breaststroke.
Crous’ reason for getting into the pool is the same as Van der Burgh’s as their diagnoses for ADHD led them to swimming as alternative treatment to medication.
They also matriculated from the same school, and will both be swimming the same events in Rio de Janeiro in August.While Van der Burgh will be going into the Games as the defending champion in the 100m breaststroke and as serious medal prospect, Crous will be using his debut on the global stage as a stepping stone to future glory.
”The build-up to 2016 started last year September when I moved to Igor Omelchenko, and he said ‘we can make it if we put in all the effort’ but he couldn’t guarantee it, no-one can,” Crous said.
”It is going to be building blocks towards 2020 and 2024 going to my first major international gala and you can’t go much bigger than the Olympic Games.”This one will be more about getting the experience, taking in the vibe, and trying to make semi-finals and do personal best times while I am there.
”Crous’ qualifying swim provided one of the most poignant moments of last week’s championships as his father Juan Crous celebrated his son’s feat.
”You f…king champion!” Juan exclaimed as he hugged his son before they shared in an emotional embrace.Qualifying for the pinnacle of his sport, Crous talked about the personal sacrifices his parents had to make to aid him in reaching his dreams.
”When I won my first gold in 2005 my dad asked me what I wanted to do from there and I said I wanted to swim at the Olympics one day,” Crous recalled.
”My parents promised to do anything in their powers to get me there and they’ve done pretty much everything for me, the sacrifices have been huge, when we had no money they would support me no matter what.”