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Penny Heyns

From Openwaterpedia

Penelope "Penny" Heyns (born 8 November 1974) is a South African Olympic swimming heroine, who is best known for winning the 100 m and 200 m breaststroke events at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. She was South Africa's first post-apartheid Olympic gold medalist following South Africa's re-admission to the Games in 1992.

Swimming Career[edit]

  • Heyns was the youngest member of the South African Olympic team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She was also a member of the South African squad at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, where she won a bronze medal in the 200 m breaststroke event.
  • She broke her first world record, the 100 m breaststroke, in Durban in March 1996. She won the gold medal for the 100 m breaststroke, also breaking the world record, and the gold medal for the 200 m breaststroke, also breaking the Olympic record. During the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York, Heyns set the 50 m breaststroke world record.
  • In 1999, Heyns set eleven world records in three months, swimming at events on three different continents. This made her the simultaneous holder of five out of the possible six breaststroke world records, a feat that had never been achieved before in the history of swimming.
  • She was named by Swimming World Magazine as the Female World Swimmer of the Year in 1996 and 1999. She was also a member of the South African Olympic team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where she won a bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke.

Professional Career[edit]

  • Heyns retired from competitive swimming in 2001.
  • She was appointed as a FINA Athletes Committee member, a businesswoman, a motivational and public speaker as well as a television presenter.
  • She wrote an autobiography.
  • She was voted 52nd in the Top 100 Great South Africans in 2004.
  • She was appointed the Chairperson of the FINA Athletes Committee (FINA AC) for the 2017-2021 term.

External links[edit]