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Penny Heyns

Full name: Penelope "Penny" Heyns
Gender: Female
Height: 5-8.5 (174 cm)
Weight: 139 lbs (63 kg)
Born: November 8, 1974 in Springs, Gauteng, South Africa
Affiliations: Nebraska Cornhuskers, Lincoln (USA)
Country: RSA South Africa
Sport: Swimming

Medals: 2 Gold, 1 Bronze (3 Total)

Biography

The last gold medal won by South Africa prior to its boycott due to apartheid was won by Joan Harrison, in the women's 100 metre backstroke. Almost 44 years later to the day, Penny Heyns succeed her compatriot, winning the 100 breaststroke and, two days later, the 200 breaststroke, also bettering the world record in the heats of the 100. This made her the first person to ever achieve the breaststroke double at the same Games (later also achieved by Domenico Fioravanti and Kosuke Kitajima), and the first South African since Charles Winslow to win two Olympic gold medals. Heyns could not reproduce this feat at the 1998 Worlds, placing out of the medals, and blamed this on her coach Jan Birdman having left for Canada, although she joined him for the next season. This proved fruitful, as she would be named World Swimmer of the Year for the second time (after 1996). Not only did she win three silvers at the World Short Course Championships and two golds at the Pan Pacific Championships, she bettered a world record eleven times. Between 17 July and 26 September, she bettered (and held) the world record in the 50 m (short-course (1) and long-course (1)), 100 m (short-course (2) and long-course (3)) and 200 m (long course (4)) breaststroke. Competing at the 2000 Olympics, Heyns was not in the same form, but still managed to earn a bronze in the 100 m. She retired directly after the Olympics, and now gives swimming clinics and motivational speaches.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1992 Summer 17 Barcelona Swimming Women's 100 metres Breaststroke South Africa RSA 33
1992 Summer 17 Barcelona Swimming Women's 200 metres Breaststroke South Africa RSA 34
1992 Summer 17 Barcelona Swimming Women's 4 × 100 metres Medley Relay South Africa RSA 16
1996 Summer 21 Atlanta Swimming Women's 100 metres Breaststroke South Africa RSA 1 Gold
1996 Summer 21 Atlanta Swimming Women's 200 metres Breaststroke South Africa RSA 1 Gold OR
1996 Summer 21 Atlanta Swimming Women's 4 × 100 metres Medley Relay South Africa RSA 4
2000 Summer 25 Sydney Swimming Women's 100 metres Breaststroke South Africa RSA 3 Bronze
2000 Summer 25 Sydney Swimming Women's 200 metres Breaststroke South Africa RSA 20

Women's 100 metres Breaststroke

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1992 Summer 17 Barcelona Swimming South Africa Round One Heat Two 4 1:14.99
1996 Summer 21 Atlanta Swimming South Africa Final 1 1:07.73
1996 Summer 21 Atlanta Swimming South Africa Round One Heat Six 1 QU/WR 1:07.02
2000 Summer 25 Sydney Swimming South Africa Final 3 1:07.55
2000 Summer 25 Sydney Swimming South Africa Semi-Finals Heat One 3 QU 1:08.33
2000 Summer 25 Sydney Swimming South Africa Round One Heat Six 1 QU 1:07.85

Women's 200 metres Breaststroke

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1992 Summer 17 Barcelona Swimming South Africa Round One Heat Two 8 2:45.04
1996 Summer 21 Atlanta Swimming South Africa Final 1 OR 2:25.41
1996 Summer 21 Atlanta Swimming South Africa Round One Heat Four 1 QU/OR 2:26.63
2000 Summer 25 Sydney Swimming South Africa Round One Heat Five 7 2:30.17

Women's 4 × 100 metres Medley Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T IST CTAS
1992 Summer 17 Barcelona Swimming South Africa RSA Round One Heat Three 6 4:24.28 1:14.43 2:20.21
1996 Summer 21 Atlanta Swimming South Africa RSA Final 4 4:08.16 1:07.41 2:09.80
1996 Summer 21 Atlanta Swimming South Africa RSA Round One Heat Three 3 QU 4:09.47 1:07.78 2:10.52
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