Nicholas Folker

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Nicholas Folker
Personal information
Full name Nicholas Folker
National team  South Africa
Born (1976-10-26) 26 October 1976 (age 40)
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 85 kg (187 lb)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Freestyle
Club Pietermaritzburg Seals
College team University of Hawaii (U.S.)
Coach Sam Freas (U.S.)

Nicholas Folker (born October 26, 1976) is a South African former 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 the tutelage of head coach Sam Freas.[2][3]

Folker made his own swimming history 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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