You are passionate and doing so well in your swimming; tell me a little bit about your journey in the sport of swimming?
At the age of five, I fractured my upper arm. My mother took me to the pool for physio. Then her friend June Owen-Smith took me under her supervision and made me swim my first gala at age 6.
I enjoyed the challenge and it was a great journey.
She prepared me from an early age to improve my times and taking part in SA Age Group Level 1,2 and 3 galas in South Africa. Unfortunately, Owen-Smith retired from swimming when I was just 12, and then my mom became my coach.
She helped me with all her passion for swimming to work myself up on the Namibian swim ladder, breaking several Namibian records such as 400m Free, 800m Free and 1500m Free.
With hard work and determination, I also took part in international meets such as Zone 4 Youth Games Mozambique, Zone 6 Youth Games Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (winning 2 individual bronze medals) and Junior World Swimming Championship Singapore 2015. In South Africa, I enjoyed competing at Pretoria NTS swimming gala, Age Group Level 3 and SA National Aquatic Championships Durban 2015 &2016. With victories in all the long distance events, my mother introduced to me open water swimming (sea swim).
What is the highest accolade you have achieved in swimming and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?
Taking part at the Junior World Swimming Championship Singapore 2015. Meeting swimmers from all over the world, different cultures and sharing the water was a big highlight. My biggest achievement was the OTB Jetty Mile and taking the triple crown. This event is also very unpredictable – sometimes, we have to swim in big swells or ice cold water. My latest personal achievement was breaking six Namibian records at SA Nationals in Durban in one gala.
Why do you value and respect your coach so much?
My mother is my coach. I respect her because she helped me to achieve my targets. I also have to respect her because she always makes it very clear that she rather would be playing tennis, instead of coaching me at the pool.
How do you manage to fit in both sports and academics as well as work into your schedule?
Time management, discipline and routine are my daily assets.
Besides swimming, what is your other passion?
Surfing big waves is my hobby. That’s my life after swimming
Tell me one thing about yourself that the world does not know?
I am training all on my own. I don’t have any swimming mates who can keep up with my level. We experience a lot of problems with our local swimming pool. The water is not always heated, water quality very poor and our practice ground cannot always be taken for granted. Sometimes, we have to make use of the ocean for training.
Would you like to share a little bit more about your faith journey and how it has affected your sports life?
Situations I cannot manage or handle myself I will leave in God’s hands. It feels good to know I am not alone.
What do you do to relax?
Surfing, listening to music and watching YouTube of surfers.
Why do you do what you do?
The water is my playground. I would like to promote a clean sport and also create awareness how to look after our coastal environment. I want to set a good example to the youth that swimming goes together with discipline – a very hard sport to achieve glories – but with determination, anything is possible. Swimming should also be more promoted in schools and we should teach our children about water safety. Unfortunately, we have a lot of deaths due to drowning here in Namibia. Awareness can save a lot of lives.
What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
My mother always says: “If you don’t try, you don’t know” – and the last one before the race” “Fast waters”.
Anything else you would like to share?
I would like to say a big thank you to all people in Namibia who have supported and assisted me during my journey of swimming. I know I have a great team behind me and I am always so happy if I come home to share my victories. Proud to be Namibian. - heslopsports.co.za