Select University of Indianapolis swimmers had the opportunity to represent their countries or clubs at the Fédération Internationale de Natation, or International Swimming Federation in English (FINA) Swimming World Cup at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in the IU Natatorium. UIndy representatives competed against internationally recognized swimmers and looked to display high class against top competition.
Graduate student Johanna Buys was one of the swimmers who chose to represent her club rather than a federation. The Zambia native has had many accolades in her career so far at the University of Indianapolis, according to UIndy Athletics. Racking up eight Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) championships, two time All-America awards in 2021 and a total of 12 All-America first team honors between 2021 and 2022, according to UIndy Athletics.
Buys had not competed internationally since she was younger, she said. This experience for her, around five years later, was not just any other meet; it was an opportunity to see where she ranked against internationally stellar athletes, according to Buys.
“Even though I was representing my country then, I was competing against young kids…,” Buys said. “It was really stepping up against the best of the best. It wasn’t little kids anymore. It was pro-athletes. So it was just a step up from there. But little me would definitely be very proud of how far I’ve come.”
Buys was able to hold her own in her heat, clocking a 25.19 for the 50m women’s freestyle, finishing first out of eight swimmers and placing 16th out of 41 overall participants out of overall heat times, according to FINA.
“There were five heats and I was in heat three, and I was lucky enough to come first in my heat…,” Buys said. “It was definitely a confidence booster. If you look at the video of the race, I was all smiles after, it was just amazing.”
Buys, who said she wants to swim professionally, feels this meet was a step in the right direction. The more she can compete in major events such as this, she said, the more she can continue to showcase talent and know at what pace she needs to develop.
“Swimming at a Division II level kind of blinds [you] to the outside; you’re competing against people [who] are good athletes, but they’re not world class,” Buys said. “Division I is where the world class athletes are hiding, so swimming at this meet was definitely a good experience for me to see what’s really going on and how much harder I still have to work to get to that level. Being at the top of Division II is nice; it’s not where my long term goals are. My long term goals are to be a pro athlete.”
On the men’s side, distance freestyle sophomore Andile Bekker was one of seven UIndy male athletes to represent their country in the FINA World Cup. Bekker is from Gaborone, Botswana and is rather familiar with representing his country. He has been doing it for around seven years, saying his first time having the honor was in 2015, Bekker said.
“It’s such a blessing because it’s something that I’ve always dreamed of from when I was like a kid,” Bekker said. “Going on seven years now, it’s just like every single opportunity that I get, I want to make sure that I’m doing myself proud, but also my friends and family at home proud.”
Bekker, who wants to be internationally successful and dominant in his swimming career, said he feels like these opportunities to see and compete against the best swimmers in the world puts his desires in perspective.
“It sort of opens up your mind because you get to see what the best in the world do and how they do it,” Bekker said. “And so it gives you this extra motivation to know that, If I want to be there someday, I have to make sure I always put in the work, no matter what’s thrown at me.”