SuperSport Schools Plus

Games qualification “extra special” for PBHS’ Tumelo Mahan

By Carli Koch , in Water Sports | News , at 2024-02-22 Tags: , ,

Tumelo Mahan of Pretoria Boys High School. Photo Supplied

Tumelo Mahan, a matric learner at Pretoria Boys High School, will represent South Africa at the 13th edition of the African Games, to be held in Ghana.

Making this accomplishment extra special is the fact that Mahan and his brother, Owethu (19), who matriculated in 2022, will be wearing the green and gold together in Ghana.

The Games are scheduled to be held from 2 to 23 March.

The brothers were informed of their inclusion in the team only last week.

Tumelo attended the Junior World Championships, in Israel, in September last year, as well as the Junior African Championships, where the 19-year-old qualified for the European Championships.

The humble yet highly talented swimmer is a sprinter who participates in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle and butterfly events.

“I realised that I have a talent in both these items, and I truly wanted to grow,” Mahan says.

His best time in the 100 m freestyle is 51.54, while his personal best in the 200m is 01:54.41.

Born and bred in Pretoria, and captain of his school’s swimming team, Mahan attended Lynnwood Ridge Primary School and always wanted to attend PBHS afterwards.

“I’ve been swimming since I was eight years old. My parents originally introduced me to swimming purely because of water safety, but I soon discovered that I had a talent for it.,” he said.

Mahan has been training extremely hard ever since and his swimming started to really pick up when he joined the University of Pretoria club under the watchful eye of Tuks’ head coach, Rocco Meiring, in 2016.

Meiring was recently named the winner of the Swammy Award for African Coach of the Year – for the sixth year in a row.

Also read: St Alban’s hunt for upset against Pretoria Boys’ High

Tumelo Mahan at the starting blocks. Photo: Supplied

Before joining Tuks, Mahan was coached by Linda de Jager, who has since retired.

His swimming journey started with pool “floaties” in a small, backyard pool. Genuinely humble beginnings.

Mahan reckons that he is probably his toughest critic. “It might sound like a cliché,” he says. “However, I am constantly trying to be better than what I was yesterday.”

Although swimming is his great passion, he realises that academics also has an important role to play in his life.

His father is originally from America but has resided in South Africa since the age of 21.

Tumelo plans to study either BCom Financial Sciences or Marketing Management at Tuks.

“I don’t only want to be known as a swimmer, but for other achievements as well. I do swim to have fun, but at the end of the day, it remains a competition.”

His greatest dream is to qualify for the 2028 Summer Olympics to be held in Los Angeles, USA.

“I haven’t counted my medals, but I do keep each of them,” he chuckles.

“Having them displayed in my room, shows me the work that I’ve put in thus far.”

He doesn’t necessarily look up to swimmers only, but there is one athlete, the multi-talented American swimmer, Caeleb Dressel, that he enjoys watching.

Tumelo Mahan and Teacher-in-charge of swimming at Pretoria Boys High School, Alexandra-Bolduc.

Teacher-in-charge of swimming at PBHS, Alexandra Bolduc, believes that the Mahan’s family values set him apart from other athletes.

“His mother and father never miss a practice or a gala – whether it’s just a school gala or serious stuff, they are always there to support their son.

“Watching the brothers become the swimmers they have become, but, mostly, the gentlemen they’ve become, is such a joy.

“I remember my first encounter with Owethu. It was during an A-League Inter-high Gala. There was a thunderstorm and we decided to arm wrestle, and I came off second best,” Bolduc laughs.

“Tumelo arrived two years later with such spirit and leading the pack. The little ones, the ‘fantastic four’, look up to Tumelo as an amazing role model – not just as a swimmer but as a man.

“Watching them just blows my mind.”

Bolduc added that she wants front-row tickets for LA.

“It has been a blessing and an honour to watch them and witness who they have become. It is going to be an adventure to watch them on the way forward.

“They must fly.”

On Friday, PBHS will host their annual Inter-House Gala.

Carli Koch
error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.