Simon Gray

Super Springbok and Commonwealth Games medalist.

The eldest son of Frank Gray - was born in England before his father came out take coach in Kimberley. He is one of four brothers - who all won Springbok colours for swimming - and he started at nationals younger than most boys.

Seen with Frank and Lee McGregor at 1972 nationals in Port Elizabeth.

In 1976 he won three titles - including the 200m backstroke in new SA record times, before leaving for the USA. After setting records in South Africa for a decade, Simon went to swim for the University of Houston in Texas. In 1980 he swam for Great Britain at the Moscow Olympic Games, competing in the 400 and 1500 freestyle, as well as the 400 IM.

Simon and Frank Gray - 1970

Today Simon works a coach in Bloemfontein. He is most famous swimmers were Olympic gold medallist Ryk Neethling and George du Rand although he has coached a number of other stars as well - Karen Allers, Tania Oosthuizen, Ryno Markgraff, Jeanine Steenkamp. Simon first coached in Durban and then in 1986, moved to Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State to coach Bloemfontein Seals, now the Supersport Seals Swimming Club. Four out of the 20 swimmers who qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games were under his age group programme i.e. Suzaan Van Biljon (Breast), Lize-Marie Retief (fly/free), George du Rand (back), Ryk Neethling (free). Kate Roberts (Triathlon) also participated in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing .

In 1968 with Freestaters Myra Eager, Bronwyn Allen and Don Balmar, Simon (front), and SAASU president Harry Getz

Bloem cousins making a splash in the pool class

Zane Waddell, coach Simon Gray & Cullen Thomas.

16-year-old Zane Waddell stole the show at the recent National Tier 3 Swimming Championship at the Newlands swimming-pool in Cape Town. The Grade 11 pupil from Grey College in Bloemfontein won no less than seven gold medals at the event. During the gala, Waddell was chosen for the South African youth squad for the second time in his fledgling career. He was also called by Dean Price and Olympic gold medallist Chad le Closs coach, Graham Hill. They told me what they want from me as a swimmer, and if I swim a certain time before the 2016 Rio Games I will be in the team, said Waddell. On the first day of the gala in shadows of Table Mountain, Waddell swam the 100 metre backstroke in 58.12 seconds. His younger cousin, Cullen Thomas, also took part in the same gala, winning three gold medals and claiming three silver and one bronze medal in the thirteen and under age group. Like his cousin, Thomas also has his goals set on the Olympics. I have my sights set on the 2020 Olympics and Im working really hard to achieve my goals, said Thomas. During the gala his best event was in the 200 metre backstroke, which he swam in a time of 2 minutes 18 seconds.


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