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Sarah Poewe


born March 3, 1983 in Capetown (South Africa) 

  • Women’s 4 x 100m Medley Bronze Medalist at the Summer Olympics in Athens 2004
  • Participated in the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Athens, Peking, and London 2000–2012
  • Three-time European Record Holder, Nine-time German Record Holder
  • Two gold and two bronze medals at the World Championships and Short Course Worlds
  • 17-time German Champion 2002-2012

Sarah Poewe is the first Jewish athlete to win an Olympic medal for Germany post-World War II. 

Her mother is a Jewish South African, and her father a German protestant who immigrated to Cape Town. During her childhood, the soon-to-be world-class swimmer, spent three years together with her family in Kiel, Germany. She can therefore speak fluent English, German, and Afrikaans (one of the official South African languages). 

Sarah Poewe discovered at a very young age that water was her element. She completed her athletic training at the Schwimmklub Vineyard in Cape Town. At the age of eleven, she entered her first international tournament. In the year 2000, the Cape Town native competed for South Africa at the Summer Olympics in Sydney. In the finals, she swam to fourth place in the 100-meter breaststroke, and sixth place in the 200-meter breaststroke. 

She competed for South Africa up until the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, but that same year, at the European Short Course Swimming Championships, she began competing for Germany. At her new club, SG Bayer Wuppertal, Sarah Poewe saw the environment as more professional, and recognized the possibility to further develop and ultimately reach her personal potential. Her later success confirmed both notions. Thus, together with Antje Buschschulte, Franziska van Almsick, and Daniela Götz, she managed to capture the bronze medal in the 4 x 100-meter medley at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Between 2002 and 2012, the 17-time German champion in the breaststroke broke three European and nine German records, and won numerous international awards. 

In addition to her athletic career, Sarah Poewe studied communications at the University of Georgia, and together with her team she won the 2005 “Best University Women’s Swim Team of America”. While studying, she regularly commuted between three continents to her family in South Africa, her university in the USA, and to her club in Germany. After graduating from college in 2009, she moved to California to train with Dave Salo, a worldwide renowned breaststroke trainer. In 2011, she moved to Wuppertal in order to train for her final Olympic Games in London. 

In 2012, the four-time Olympian ended her competitive career, but remained closely tied to the sport. She became an ambassador for SPEEDO Germany and for the Junior-Top-Team of the Nordrhein-Westfalen Swimming Association, and is a swim patron for the European Maccabi Games in 2015. Sarah Poewe has been working as a personal swim coach since 2014.