Kenyan Olympian Jason Dunford grabbed a silver medal in 100 metres butterfly at the US National Open Short Course Championships held at the weekend in Washington DC.
Dunford clocked 46.33 seconds, just being out-touched by USA’s Beijing gold and silver medalist, Matt Grevers, to the gold. The six-foot-eight Grevers’ time was 46.28 seconds, with USA’s Nathan Adrian, another gold medalist from Beijing, finishing third in 46.62 seconds.
Dunford swam “unattached”, that is, he didn’t have a team, but the commentators kept referring to him as the Kenya Olympian, and as such was the first Kenyan to swim in these prestigious championships.
The Kenyan swimmer also finished sixth in the 100 metre freestyle in a time of 43.92 seconds in a race won by American record holder, Nathan Adrian, in 41.82 seconds.
Dunford has recently started swimming the 200 butterfly and in only his second outing of the year, he managed a creditable eighth place in 1.46:86, which was his best ever time by over four seconds. He is considering specialising in this gruelling race.
“I’m very encouraged by my performance as I have been in heavy training, but not for this event. Besides, I was also tired from my end of term studies,” said Dunford in an email message.
His main training focus is for the latter half of next year, which will see him with a packed programme starting with the Africa Championships in Nairobi in September, followed by the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October, the Swimming World Cup circuit in November and the FINA Short Course World Championships in Dubai in December.
A multiple All Africa Gold medalist, Dunford graduated from Stanford University last year with a degree in human biology but is now studying for a Masters degree in Earth Systems, still at Stanford.
“He (Jason) is really doing us proud as a country. He has come to show just how Kenya as a country can produce high level swimmers,” noted Kenya Swimming Federation public relations officer, Winnie Kamau.