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Thread: Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

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    Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

    Interesting story of Tony Blake, who I remembered reading about in the 1990's about his potential in swimming. I never knew that it was the same person as Siphiwe Baleka, who is the swimmer on the cover of the 2018 USMS Rule Book.

    https://www.si.com/more-sports/2015/...ucking-fitness
    Skip Thompson

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    Re: Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

    This video is one of my favorite inspirational ones ever. I shared it again recently on our local two HS boy's team Facebook page at the end of the season. I love how his story is such a picture of how we think we can work so hard for something, it doesn't go how we expected, but yet it WASN'T all for nothing. I tried to find another video off Facebook, but I especially love the still shot that goes with this one of him on the starting block. Hopefully the link works.

    https://www.facebook.com/foxsports/v...3609151604552/

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

    ...really enjoyed this. Thank you for posting.

    I think that we all have our come-back (to the pool) stories - and this one has a very nice outcome.

    It's funny how the mosaic of life works. His journey definitely had a purpose - and it continues.
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    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

    1) Strangely epic but tragically stereotypical (consequences in "going Kerouac on everybody's asses" in terms of broken relationships). 2) 8 tenths off Olympic trial cuts in 100 seems like a lot (not particularly close to making team). 3) Awesome that he is changing so many lives for the better.

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    Very Active Member jroddin's Avatar
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    Re: Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Dickson View Post
    1) Strangely epic but tragically stereotypical (consequences in "going Kerouac on everybody's asses" in terms of broken relationships). 2) 8 tenths off Olympic trial cuts in 100 seems like a lot (not particularly close to making team). 3) Awesome that he is changing so many lives for the better.
    I agree with Kurt on all three points. His masters times certainly speak (loudly) for themselves. And what he is doing for his industry is remarkable. But by reading this story it makes it sound like there was some sort of "epic failure" on his part with his swimming prowess that sent him into a tailspin in life and it took decades to pull out of it. First of all, raise your hand if you were even close to making OT cuts? That alone puts you into an extremely elite group of swimmers and I certainly wouldn't classify it as a failure if you didn't make OT cuts. I didn't quite make Jr. Nationals (let alone Sr. Nationals, OT or NCAA cuts, etc.) and I don't consider myself to be a failure. At least not a failure in swimming LOL.

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    Active Member Evan Ekman's Avatar
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    Re: Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

    Love the story and interesting hearing about Sippy's (out of the water) present and past... always encouraging, engaging, and inspirational. Pound for pound, no doubt one of the best sprinters on the planet. Additionally, always a great thing when a masters swimmer gets some well deserved attention. Keep up the great work.

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    Re: Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

    Quote Originally Posted by jroddin View Post
    But by reading this story it makes it sound like there was some sort of "epic failure" on his part with his swimming prowess that sent him into a tailspin in life and it took decades to pull out of it.

    But that's how he himself describes it in the video I posted. I think that's his whole point.

    We all have expectations - that come from others or from ourselves, and it's relative to our own abilities. (For the record, I'm the one new Master's swimmers are glad to see because I don't intimidate them with my swimming speed.)

    Also, I had noticed the 0.8 seconds before - to non-swimmers that sounds like a tiny amount, but to swimmers, they realize that for Olympic-level swimmers in a 100, that is big. Again, I think that was part of why he got so upset with himself....and part of the point he's trying to make now. It's a huge difference, and yet it's such a tiny portion of our lives, too.

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan Ekman View Post
    Love the story and interesting hearing about Sippy's (out of the water) present and past... always encouraging, engaging, and inspirational. Pound for pound, no doubt one of the best sprinters on the planet. Additionally, always a great thing when a masters swimmer gets some well deserved attention. Keep up the great work.

    Pound for pound is right. His stature does not exactly give any advantage when it comes to some of the top sprinters.

    What is also quite impressive, is that he is one of the few masters swimmers who can swim his age in the 100 yard free. 46 and :46. ...That's a rather stand out achievement for the 45-49 age group - and a very unique club to belong to!

    ...regarding the story, everyone has their setbacks, and we all react differently to disappointments. How he eventually rebounded from a personal upset is what makes the new chapter in his life all the more interesting - and uplifting.
    Excellence Is Never An Accident.

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    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

    Quote Originally Posted by kathleenkp View Post
    Also, I had noticed the 0.8 seconds before - to non-swimmers that sounds like a tiny amount, but to swimmers, they realize that for Olympic-level swimmers in a 100, that is big.
    Well, I was one tenth of a second off trial cuts but the people actually qualifying for the team are 3 or 4 seconds faster than that. So, my point was that if he was 0.8 off cuts, he was likely a seconds off making the team which should be a relatively large amount by anyone's perspective.

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Tony Blake - Siphiwe Baleka

    There was indeed a three second range - from prelims to finals. Making cuts and topping the field of competitors are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum.

    I still like his story.
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