T3 Webinars – Swimmer Series: Who is Aimee Canny? 54.87 for 100m Free – Success in Budapest

Budapest: Aimee Canny with Swim SA High Performance Manager, Dean Price

Golden Girl: SA’s Next World Champion?

Aimee Canny, Oakhill (Knysna) Grade 10 pupil and SA swimming superstar, astounded all again at last year’s FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary held between 20 and 25 August 2019.

Aimee represented South Africa in the 50m and 100m freestyle events, earning fourth and fifth place respectively, just behind top American and Australian swimmers. The Junior World Championships are the youngest among the major International Swimming Federation (FINA) swimming events, with the inaugural edition taking place in 2006 in Rio de Janeiro.

This event is “designed” to discover the future stars of aquatics, and the usual pathway for swimmers is to shine first among the juniors and then conquer the senior waters.

Success in Budapest

In the 100m freestyle heats, Aimee smashed her personal best time and broke the previous South African age group record by half a second, making it through to the semifinals on 21 August.

Here, Aimee took another second off her time, breaking her own personal best and again bettering the SA age-group record she had already broken in the morning. She posted a 54.87 sec race, advancing through to the finals on Thursday evening, where she touched in at 54.93 sec, earning fifth place under huge pressure in her first major international final.

The 50m freestyle heats took place next, where Aimee posted a time 25.48 in the prelims, which was an improvement of her lifetime best by 0.54 sec, and earned her a spot in the semifinals again on 24 August. Here she clocked an even faster time with a 25.29 sec finish, lowering her SA record yet again and securing her spot in the final race. Aimee placed a phenomenal fourth in the finals on Sunday 25 August, just behind Australia’s Meg Harris, and USA’s Maxine Parker and Gretchen Walsh.

Looking back on the world championships, Aimee is still wrapping her head around everything. “It was an amazing experience, the conditions were incredible and I really had a great time,” she said. “I didn’t expect to do so well, I was really shocked, but all the hard work has finally paid off.”

Oakhill School, Knysna

Aimee has attended Oakhill from the start of her school life, and Head of School Jannie de Villiers is beyond proud. “A quality that sets Aimee apart is her calm composure in the company of world-class competitors, with the eyes of the world upon her. It is her unassuming nature that gives her the strength of character to excel under unimaginable pressure.”

The 16-year-old Aimee was coached independently by Grant Ferguson of the Knysna Dragons Club, and has been prospering since starting swimming with him in Grade 1. “I am very proud of Aimee’s performances,” Grant said. “She has put in hours of hard work, shows continuous dedication and has an amazing big match temperament. She is on her way to being the next South African Olympic medallist.”

Today, Aimee is coached by Francois Boshoff.

Book to hear her interviewed

T3 Swimmer Series: Aimee Canny

David Glover interviews Aimee Canny (potential Olympic qualifier) and her coach Francois Boshoff.

Topic: How did you get so fast?

Date & Time: Sat 1st Aug at 15h00 (3:00pm)
Cost: R75 EFT
Bookings: OPEN NOW
Book here: https://forms.gle/HbwjCszGbAb3MFtQ9


Aimee Canny

Coach Francois Boshoff

Francois Boshoff

Richards Bay

As a native from Richards Bay, I had the distinct advantage, to grow up in an aquatic culture at the coast. This advantage soon became evident when, at the age of 12, I won South African Junior Champs 100m backstroke.

Marines and TUKS

After high school, I enlisted with the Marines for two years after which I studied Town and Regional Planning at Tuks. While at Tuks, I joined the Pretoria Aquatic Club (PAC) under Coach Gerhard Van Der Walt.

University of Nebraska (USA)

In August 1992, I was offered a swimming scholarship at the University of Nebraska. One of my team mates during that recruiting year was a very ‘average’ swimmer by the name of Penny Heyns. Despite winning Senior Nationals and representing South Africa, I think I gained far more knowledge from having a team member who was an ‘average’ swimmer that, within a few years, won Olympics and set numerous World records.

After completing a degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Nebraska, I returned to South Africa and worked at Ferrit Mining. Within the first month I realized that an office job wasn’t for me and I resigned.

Coaching back in South Africa

This is when my career as a coach started, I initially coached at Pretoria Aquatic Club (PAC) and after two Olympic cycles, we were fortunate to produce numerous top national and international swimmers. I was also fortunate enough to be part of the coaching staff at Africa Champs (2001), Commonwealth Games (2002) and World Champs (2003)

Some of the swimmers were:

  • Cameron van der Burg (World Record holder 50m & 100m Breaststroke, Commonwealth, World and Olympic gold medalist)
  • Giulio Zorzi (World Champion bronze medalist 50 Breaststroke 2013)
  • Gerhard Zandberg (Commonwealth and World Champion medalist 50m & 100m Backstroke)
  • Gideon Louw (Olympic Swimmer)
  • Edith Otterman (Masters World record Holder 50m Freestyle)

Peter Williams & Waterborne

After coaching at PAC, I joined Peter Williams and Waterborne for the following two Olympic cycles. As a club, we were able to take the top position at South African Junior Nationals for seven years in a row.

Numerous national and international swimmers were produced at Waterborne including Dylan Bosch and Jean Basson.

uShaka Swim Team, Richards Bay

Upon starting a family, I decided to move back to my support structure in Richards Bay and to start up a swim team called uShaka Swim Team. Our best achievement as a club came at the end of the 2019 summer season when we finished 3rd at Level 2 South African Regional Champs and 7th at Level 3 South African Regional Champs.

Knysna Aquatics & Aimee Canny

At the end of 2019, I relocated to Knysna, a small town in the Garden Route, where I have the privilege of coaching one of South Africa’s best ‘up and coming’ new female talents, Aimee Canny.


David Glover

David Glover

My name is David Glover and I am a 38 years old. I have a passion for swimming and represented South Africa as a junior in the sport. I went to Perth in 1994 for the Junior Pan Pacific Schools games and continued swimming until the age off 22. I also won the Junior Victor Ludorum at SA Primary Schools and my best placing at Senior Nationals was 10th place. I swam for Aquabear swim club for all my years and was trained as a coach by Brian Elliott, the head coach of Aquabear.

I began my coaching at the age of 19 and started off going to peoples’ homes and teaching their little ones how to swim and be water safe. I did however, not have any specific course experience and taught them how to swim using my knowledge of what I learned at swimming and from shadowing Brian and other coaches. I also helped out at a school called VP Grey and coached their swimmers 3 times a week. Many of them were from under privileged backgrounds and quite a few of the swimmers I had to teach, taking them right back to the basics.

At the age of 21, I then started coaching for Aquabear and coached the juniors ( ages 8 – 11 ). I enjoyed coaching this age group and over 2 seasons, 2003 and 2004, my numbers increased from about 10 – 30. Over the next 2 years I then moved on with these swimmers and they started to perform at the Level 1,2 and 3 competitions.

From about 2006 and onwards my list of achievements as a coach included;

  • Swimmers winning more than 100 Eastern Province Championships medals over the years 2006 – 2011
  • Swimmers winning more than 20 medals at SA Primary Schools in numerous years
  • One of my swimmers winning the Victrix Ludorum at SA Primary Schools
  • Winning the National Level 2 Competition in 2009 ( then it was a National Competition, now it is regional )
  • In 2010 and 2011 at Level 3 I had swimmers winning many medals. 2011 was the best year for me in terms of the results my swimmers produced. In 2011 my female swimmers, especially in the breaststroke events, won many gold medals. Names of the swimmers included the likes of Jessica Liss, Genna Greevelink, Kirstyn Fourie, Michaela Barnes, Sarah Jorgensen and Kaleigh Graham.
  • In 2011 one of my swimmers won my first Senior nationals medal. It was won by Jessica Liss in the 200m breaststroke. She won bronze. I also won a few Youth medals with the best 2 coming from Kaleigh and Michaela winning gold in the 100m butterfly and 200m backstroke respectively.
  • In 2011, 2 of my swimmers were selected to represent South Africa and Zimbabwe at the World Junior Championships in Peru
  • I also had a few swimmers selected to represent South Africa at the Zone galas. Names of some of these swimmers included Kirstie Engelke and Jeremy Ward.
  • Stopped coaching for a little while and started again in 2014.
  • In 2016 my swimmers won numerous medals at Sa level 1,2,3 as well as qualified for Youth Nationals. I was also selected to represent South Africa as a coach and went to Angola with the Cana team to Angola
  • In 2017 I had a swimmer being selected for the SA Junior swimming squad. Infinity also finished in the top 10 clubs at SA Junior Nationals out of more than 90 other swimming clubs around the country.
  • In 2018, I had a swimmer represent SA at the Commonwealth Games. This was the highlight of my swimming career with my swimmer, Kaylene Corbett, making the final. She has since moved onto TUKS to further her career. She was also my first Senior National Champion
  • I also had numerous medal winners at all the Levels as well as had a few SA Champions.
  • Many of my swimmers in the 2018/2019 season and 2019/2020 season were also selected for SA Open Water squads and Cana Zone teams
  • In both the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 season Infinity were the club champions at the Nelson Mandela Bay Prize Giving.
  • In the 2019/2020 season we had incredible results at all the Levels and had many swimmers performing well at SA Senior Short Course as well as the local galas. I had over 10 swimmers qualifying for Senior Nationals in this season. This was so exciting for me!!!

I am also a swimming coach and teacher at St George’s Prep School in Port Elizabeth. I am the head of swimming at the school and in the 2013/2014 season we won the best co-ed school prize, scoring the most points over the season. This is an amazing achievement for our school as we are a very small private school with far less swimmers to choose from than the rest of Port Elizabeth

I opened Infinity Swimming Academy in May 2016 and the club has just finished its 4th season. At present I have about 90 registered swimmers in the club as well as about another 60 swimmers who are part of the academy.   I am coaching children between the age of 7 and 22 as well as some Masters swimmers and am hoping to bring many of the younger swimmers through the ranks to represent South Africa one day.  My dream is to take someone one day to the Olympics and I am passionate about helping improve the standard of South African Swimming to even greater heights.


T3 Swimmer Series: Aimee Canny

David Glover interviews Aimee Canny (potential Olympic qualifier) and her coach Francois Boshoff.

Topic: How did you get so fast?

Date & Time: Sat 1st Aug at 15h00 (3:00pm)
Cost: R75 EFT
Bookings: OPEN NOW
Book here: https://forms.gle/HbwjCszGbAb3MFtQ9