Swimming coach accepts blame

Cape Town - South Africa's national swimming coach, Graham Hill, says he is partly to blame for the country not having world class female swimmers.

This comes after top men's performer, Cameron van der Burgh, claimed that the country's female swimmers are not willing to sacrifice enough in order to reach the top.

Van der Burgh said women are reluctant to give up four, six or eight years of their lives - and that's why they don't reach the top.

"They're not prepared to make sacrifices. That includes their physical condition (broad shoulders and muscles), because they don't want to look like men," he said.

Hill said not all female swimmers fall under that bracket, but admitted that improvement is needed.

"I think it's quite clear for everyone that the current state of female swimming is not at its best," he told Die Burger's website.

"And I, as national coach, is partly to blame because I pushed the men harder than the women. I was too soft on the women.

"However, I have changed my approach. I don't treat them differently anymore, but as equal. I now treat the women as swimmers."

Hill said, apart from Suzaan van Biljon who still needs to qualify for the World Championships in Barcelona in July and August, they don't have high expectations for rest of the female participants.

He did, however, say that Swimming SA is currently busy developing a new group of potential female stars for the future.
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