Nicholas Folker

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Nicholas Folker
Personal information
Nationality  South Africa
Born (1976-10-26) 26 October 1976 (age 38)
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 85 kg (187 lb)
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Freestyle
Club Pietermaritzburg Seals (RSA)
College team Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (USA)
Coach Sam Freas (USA)

Nicholas Folker (born October 26, 1976 in Pietermaritzburg) is a retired South African swimmer, who specialized in sprint freestyle events.[1] He captured two medals at the 1999 All-Africa Games, and later represented South Africa at the 2000 Summer Olympics. While residing in the United States, Folker achieved school records in a sprint freestyle double and also trained for the University of Hawaii's swimming and diving team, also known as the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, under head coach Sam Freas.[2][3]

Folker made his official worldwide debut at the 1999 Summer Universiade in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, where he earned a bronze medal in the 100 m freestyle at 50.77, finishing behind Russia's Denis Pimankov and Italy's Mauro Gallo.[4][5] When his nation South Africa hosted the All-Africa Games in Johannesburg on that year, Folker added two more medals to his career hardware in front of a massive home crowd: a silver in the 50 m freestyle (22.83) and another bronze in the 100 m freestyle (50.61).[6]

At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Folker competed in two swimming events with only six days in between.[7][8] First, he teamed up with Roland Mark Schoeman, Brendon Dedekind, and deaf-mute Terence Parkin in the 4×100 m freestyle relay. Swimming the third leg in heat two, Folker overhauled a 50-second barrier and recorded a split of 49.57, but the South Africans missed the top 8 final by 1.09 seconds, finishing in fifth place and eleventh overall with an African standard of 3:21.28.[9][10] Because of his powerful effort in the freestyle relay, Folker was selected to join with Simon Thirsk, Brett Petersen, and Theo Verster in the 4×100 m medley relay six days later. During the prelims race, he swam a freestyle leg in the same heat with a scintillating anchor of 49.53 to deliver a fourth-place finish and thirteenth overall for the South Africans in 3:42.44.[11]

The following year, at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia, Folker, along with his teammate Schoeman and Latin American sprinters José Meolans (Argentina) and Fernando Scherer (Brazil), captured a silver medal for the all-stars team in the freestyle relay (3:18.78).[12]

Since his sporting career ended in 2004, Folker currently works on his sixth season as a strength and conditioning coach for the California Golden Bears men's swimming and diving team at the University of California, Berkeley.[13][14]


  1. ^ "Nicholas Folker". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Bigold, Pat (17 March 2000). "UH swimmers to drop suit against NCAA". Honolulu Star Bulletin. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Wilhelm, Kalani (20 March 2000). "Folker has sights on NCAA championships". Honolulu Star Bulletin. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Thirsk saves SA's face at Games". Independent Online (South Africa). 7 July 1999. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Japan strikes gold in pool". Sports Illustrated (CNN). 6 July 1999. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Smith, Neville (16 September 1999). "All-Africa Games – Day 5: Mandy Takes Fourth Gold As Dedekind Wins 50m Freestyle". Swim News. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Swimming – Men's 4×100m Freestyle Relay Startlist (Heat 2)" (PDF). Sydney 2000. Omega Timing. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Swimming – Men's 4×100m Medley Relay Startlist (Heat 2)" (PDF). Sydney 2000. Omega Timing. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Sydney 2000: Swimming – Men's 4×100m Freestyle Relay Heat 2" (PDF). Sydney 2000. LA84 Foundation. p. 335. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Newberry, Paul (16 September 2000). "Thompson anchors U.S. relay win; Thorpe wins 400 free". Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Sydney 2000: Swimming – Men's 4×100m Medley Relay Heat 2" (PDF). Sydney 2000. LA84 Foundation. p. 347. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Parkin wins gold, and cash, at Games". Independent Online (South Africa). 4 September 2001. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "The Morning Swim Show, May 1, 2012: Nick Folker Discusses Swimming-Specific Dryland Training". Swimming World Magazine. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Barrett, Casey. "Wisdom in the Weight Room: The Enlightened Outlook of Cal Strength Coach Nick Folker". College Swimming. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 

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