South African Olympic Finalist Brad Tandy Announces Retirement

Brad Tandy; Photo Courtesy: Colin Prenger

South African Olympic Finalist Brad Tandy Announces Retirement

Brad Tandy, a two-time Olympian from South Africa, declared his retirement this weekend at the South African Swimming Championships.

Tandy, 30, swam the 50 free at the meet in Gqeberha, just over a week after taking part in the TYR Pro Swim Series in San Francisco. He finished second in the race to 17-year-old Pieter Coetzee, clocking in at 22.49.

For one of the last generation’s stars of South African swimming, it served as a passing of the torch to a rising star.

“I think it’s time for the next chapter of my life,” Tandy told Swimming South Africa after the swim. “To be honest, the little boy from Ladysmith, what I have achieved has surpassed all goals I set out. I could have retired happy after winning my first national championships. I’ve just been blessed and blessed in the sport but I just feel like all the stars are aligning, I’m getting married, job, right age – it feels good. There are some great up and coming swimming so I’m leaving it in good hands.”

Tandy finished sixth in the men’s 50 freestyle at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the swim for which he is best known. A hyper specialist sprinter in the 50, he won a bronze medal at the 2018 Short-Course World Championships in Hangzhou and a silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He added medley relay bronze at the latter. Tandy won two relay golds and bronze in the 50 at the 2019 African Games.

Tandy qualified for his second Olympics in 2021, tying for 24th in the 50 free in Tokyo.

Tandy has settled in Arizona, where he was a star at the University of Arizona after two years at Indian River Junior College in Florida. A four-time All-American for the Wildcats, he won the NCAA title in the 50 free in 2014, in a tie with Kristian Gkolomeev, and the Pac-12 title in the event in 2015.

Tandy was pleased to get a farewell closer to his native Ladysmith.

“It’s quite an emotional one for me,” he said. “They always say the starting is the hard part, but they don’t really give you a heads up on the finishing. I was going to be happy with whatever I swam, just to be back here in South Africa, seeing the crowd. I didn’t win it, but I still got the applause … it means a lot to me.”

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1 year ago

Nice career, Brad.