Penelope Heyns

Penelope Heyns

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Penelope Heyns

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Penelope ("Penny") Heyns (born 8 November 1974) is a South African swimmer, who is best known for being the only woman in the history of the Olympic Games to have won both the 100 m and 200 m breaststroke events - at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games - making her South Africa's first post-apartheid Olympic gold medallist following South Africa's re-admission to the Games in 1992. Along with Australian champion, Leisel Jones, Heyns is regarded as one of the greatest breaststroke swimmers.

Sporting career

Heyns was the youngest member of the South African Olympic team at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. She was also a member of the South African squad at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, where she won a bronze medal in the 200 m breaststroke event.

She broke her first world record, the 100 m breaststroke, in Durban in March 1996. Heyns was again part of the South African Olympic team in Atlanta in 1996, where she won the gold medal for the 100 m breaststroke (also breaking the world record for the event) as well as the gold medal for the 200 m breaststroke (also breaking the Olympic record for the event). This made her the only woman in the history of the Olympic Games to have won both the 100 m and 200 m breaststroke events.

During the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York, Heyns set the 50 m breaststroke world record.

In 1999, Heyns set a spate of eleven world records in three months, swimming at events on three different continents. This made her the simultaneous holder...
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