LUCKY SWIMMERS

Brunlehner, Mohammed secure slots for next month's Olympics

Brunlehner and Muteti trained at GCU with Lopes head coach Steve Schaffer.

In Summary

•Brunlehner's 738 points stood up after the qualification deadline last weekend— edging Imara Thorpe (732), Sara Mose (7220 and Muteti ( 721).

•Brunlehner and Mohammed are expected to swim in the 100m and 200m freestyle and breaststroke events respectively in Paris.

Maria Brunlehner in a past 200m breaststroke action
Maria Brunlehner in a past 200m breaststroke action
Image: FILE

United States-based Maria Brunlehner and Ridhwan Mohammed have secured Universality spots in the Kenya swimming team for the Paris Olympics next month.

Brunlehner’s qualification journey was marked by her outstanding performance in the 50m freestyle at the Doha World Championships. She clocked a time of 26.12 seconds to earn herself  739 WA points.

Brunlehner, who is a student at Grand Canyon University (GCU) in the USA, was the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) swimmer of the year after claiming three individual gold medals.

She set GCU records in the 100-yard freestyle and breaststroke and broke the WAC breaststroke record in the process. 

Her speed and technique have made her one of Kenya's top swimmers and her qualification is a testament to her relentless pursuit of excellence.

Ridhwan Mohamed earned his Universality spot with a remarkable performance in the 400m freestyle, where he posted 4:04.39 during the Olympic qualifying period. The feat translated into 730 WA points.

His endurance and consistency have put him on another level.  

Brunlehner's 738 points stood up after the qualification deadline last weekend— edging Imara Thorpe (732), Sara Mose (7220 and Muteti ( 721). Brunlehner and Muteti trained at GCU with Lopes head coach Steve Schaffer. 

"We are very proud of Maria," said Schaffer. "Competing at the Olympics is what all swimmers dream of, and Maria has worked hard to make it. She is a talented athlete and we are glad we have been able to help her along the way."

Brunlehner and Mohammed are expected to swim in the 100m and 200m freestyle and breaststroke events respectively in Paris.

Kenya Aquatics Secretary General Collins Marigiri, who is also the swimming team manager, expressed his pride in the swimmers' achievements.

“Maria and Ridhwan have worked incredibly hard to reach this point. We believe they will represent us admirably and inspire many young swimmers back here home.”

World Aquatics (WA) Universality selection criteria are designed to ensure global representation at the Olympics by allowing swimmers from countries with developing programs to compete at the highest level.

The duo swam at the just concluded 52nd Bahamas National Swimming Championship, which was used as a qualifier.

Brunlehner expressed delight with the level of competition at the event.

“The event was quite competitive and the calibre of swimmers was on another level. Now that I have secured a slot, I intend to work hard at the Paris Olympics, where I am optimistic of reaching finals," she added