Shaune Fraser starts Olympic bid solidly

Potential Olympic swimming medalist Shaune Fraser continued his preparation with a strong performance at a college over the weekend.

Swimming for the University of Florida, Fraser got a first in the 200 metres freestyle, a second in the 200m individual medley and a third in the 200m fly.

The South Eastern Conference Championship meet was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His time of 1 minute 34.23 seconds in the 200m freestyle was a career best, a pool record and the fifth fastest in school history. He was also third in the 200m medley.

Fraser, 19, will compete next in Seattle in the NCAAs at the end of March. The NCAAs will be tougher competition for the Pan American Games silver medalist and a natural progression as the Beijing Olympics loom in August.

‘Last year Shaune made two finals and came in fifth on both of them,’ said his father Jim. ‘This time around he’d like to do better than that. Obviously, he’d like to make finals in all three events and see where he goes.’

Such is the competitive nature of top level swimming that ‘shaving and tapering’ is the norm to be in optimum shape. That involves shaving all body hair off and resting for days to save energy. Fraser did not shave and taper for this meet.

‘Some swimmers did shave and taper,’ Jim added. ‘Shaune wasn’t rested. Obviously, he will rest and taper for the NCAAs and taper and shave for the Olympics.

‘Last year he did shave and taper for this meet but in terms of placings he did better this year. Last year he got two first places and a second place. This year he didn’t do as well but improved his time in two events.

‘Shaune wears a cap but other swimmers shave their hair off completely. It’s become such an aero-dynamic sport that they go down to the most minute detail.’

Brett, Shaune’s younger brother, turned up to root for his sibling. Brett too is Beijing bound, having reached the qualifying mark last week in the 200m backstroke. ‘Brett came out of the blue with another swimmer which was nice,’ Jim said.