Skinner to compete at FINA World Championships

BY MICHAEL UUGWANGA

TOP 100m, 200m and 50m freestyle swimmer Xander Skinner has said that he is excited about the upcoming 15th FINA World Championships slated for December 16 to 21 in Abu Dhabi.

Skinner and Roman Wantenaar will be the only Namibian swimmers at the World Championships.

The 23-year-old Skinner will be going to his fifth World Championships, having already competed in the past in Russia, Hungary, South Korea and in Canada.

At the 2015 World Championships, he competed in three heats, 100m freestyle of which he came in 86th place, 200m freestyle came in 75th place, 50m freestyle finished in fifth place and 100m freestyle he managed a sixth place finish.

In Hungary, he competed in two heats, 100m freestyle of which he came in 56th position and in the 200m freestyle he managed a 60th place.

At the South Korea World Championships, he also competed in two heats event, 50m freestyle and came in 51st place and in the 100m freestyle he managed a 53rd place.

In Canada, Skinner competed in the 200m freestyle and came at number 80 while in the 50m butterfly he got a 75th position. Speaking to Confidente Sport, Skinner who is also a student at the University of Mckendree, Illinois in the U.S. regards the World Championships as the biggest event after the Olympic Games and wants to better his previous World Championships record.

He also said that he is mentally and physically fit ahead of the event under the watchful eye of his technical team that is being spearheaded by his coach Jimmy Tierney, Nathan Townsend (assistant coach) and his gym coach Romo Westbrook.

“World Championships is the second most important swimming competition after Olympic Games and is the most important competition for me this year. I am extremely excited to take part this year and represent my country. “The heats have not been released yet, but I will for sure put all the information on my social media pages so people know when I am swimming.

“My goal for this year is obviously to better my own times and the national records that I have set at the previous World Championships. I have a great coaching staff that has prepared me race in December. Jimmy has been coaching me for the past five years and I am extremely fortunate to be coached by him. “Mentally and physically I am in the best shape of my life. I have been training about 20 hours a week, in the pool and the gym. Training these last four months has been geared towards succeeding at the competition,” he said.

Despite 2021 being a challenging year for many athletes due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Skinner however had a successful year.

His goal next year is to compete at the Commonwealth Games that will be staged in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

“2021 has been a good season for me. I have raced in multiple events here in the USA including NCAA college nationals. Other events include smaller competitions against several top universities in America.

“The best moments for me have been the last couple of months. I have been at the top of the rankings in college … and I have been a part of nation leading relays as well. I am also the captain of my university team and it has been an honour captaining one of the best teams in the USA.

“The goal for next year would be Commonwealth Games. That has always been a dream of mine and I am very excited to qualify for the games. Preparation is always key ahead of any event.

“I have a great support system from my parents and my coaches. My parents have always been there for me, even through the times that my swimming struggled. I am so grateful for them,” said Skinner.