In 2017, he became the reigning junior champ, won international gold, broke international records and this year, he will be joining the big leagues. Widely considered to be the most promising young South African swimmer of his generation, the 17 year old Michael Houlie was named as part of the team that will represent South Africa at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Michael swam a qualifying time of 1:01.98 in the 100m breaststroke at the KZN Aquatics Premier Championships in Durban. He came second, winning silver behind 29 year old Cameron van der Burgh, who swam a time of 59.89. Swimmers qualify to be part of Team SA if they swim a time of under under 1:02.46.
At the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games held in the Bahamas he set the South African Age Group records in each of the events he competed in and he broke the games’ 50m Breaststroke record. He won two golds in the 100m and 50m breaststrokes, and one silver in the 200m breaststroke. He also competed in the finals of the Junior World Championships.
Michael confesses that although it is an honour to be included as a member of South Africa’s best swimmers, he does not feel under pressure to be the best. He says that compared to his Olympic gold winning competitors, he is still young and relatively inexperienced, so he will be focusing on learning from the best.
Currently in his matric year, Michael has also been invited to study at and swim for the University of Tennessee in 2019. The university has one of the top college swimming teams in the country.
The Commonwealth Games will be held between the 4th and 15th of April 2018.
If you want to know more about Michael, click HERE.