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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (Apr. 27, 2004) - Penn State swimmer Eugene Botes qualified for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens by meeting the FINA "A" time standard in the 100-meter butterfly while competing at the Telkom South African Aquatic Championships held Apr. 21st at the Kings Park Pool in Durban, South Africa.
Botes will swim in the 100 butterfly and he is also eligible for relay events for the South African team at the Olympics.
"We are awfully proud of Eugene," said Penn State head coach Bill Dorenkott. "He has worked very hard to put himself in this position. Eugene has represented himself, his family and Penn State with a great deal of class at the national and international levels."
Botes, who is the first Nittany Lions male swimmer to ever qualify for the Olympics, was one of seven South African qualifiers in swimming and he is the first Penn State swimmer or diver to qualify for the Olympics since Mary Ellen Clark qualified as a diver in 1992 and 1996.
Clark went on to win bronze medals in the 10-meter diving events of both Olympic Games. Former Penn State swimmer Diane Braceland, who letter in 1970 and 1971, also qualified for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, but she competed in rowing. She finished fifth in the double sculls event.
Botes is no stranger to international swimming. He became the first Penn State men's swimmer to represent his country when he competed in the World Championships and the World University Games following his senior season as a Nittany Lion in 2003, when he served as team captain. Botes also won the 100 butterfly at the 2003 U.S. Swimming Nationals in 53.20, becoming Penn State's first-ever national champion in the process. His time in the 100 butterfly also established a South African national record and an African Continental mark. Botes was ranked as high as 22nd in the world in the 100 butterfly in 2003.
Botes holds two Penn State school records, the 100 freestyle with a time of 42.90 and the 100 butterfly in 47.01. He swam his 100 butterfly time of 47.01 twice. He also holds the McCoy Natatorium pool record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 48.04.
Botes, who is a dual citizen in the United States and South Africa, lived in South Africa until he was 13 years old. He moved to Pennsylvania while he was in the eighth grade and attended Garnett Valley High School. He was a PIAA Champion and record holder prior to coming to Penn State. He also competed for the Suburban Swim Club under the direction of Charlie Kennedy while in high school.
Botes served as a volunteer coach with the Nittany Lions this past season wile continuing to train with Dorenkott and finish his course work toward a degree in computer science.
For more information on Penn State swimming and diving, please visit our official athletic website at www.GoPSUsports.com.