Marlies Ross is one of SA’s brightest swimming Girl-Stars! This determined Fresh & Hungry 17 year old is taking the world by storm with her magnificent swimming performances. She is a Crawford College student and Jesus follower who has been on the podium at many of the world’s top class Champs. Now she has her eyes set on a good matric year and on the realisation of her long time dream – Rio Olympics 2016.
Read on to find out about what moves this young, deep, determined and relentless Champion Girl.
You are passionate and doing so well in your swimming, tell me a little bit about how you started in swimming and your journey in the swimming arena up to now?
I found my passion for the water from a very young age through my mother. She was a very good swimmer when she was young and so when I was born she shared her talent with me. You can go as far as to say that I was born in the water. I started learn to swim at the age of two years and started swimming competitively at the age of seven years. I can still remember watching the 2004 Olympics where the “Fantastic Four” won the gold in the relay and I remembered telling my parents that I also wanted to do that. Since then swimming has been my life. I have grown from that nine year old girl that won the ‘Guppy Swimmer of the Year’ at NTS to a girl that have had the opportunity to represent South Africa at the World Championships, Youth Olympics and Common Wealth Games through the guidance of my coach Igor Omeltchenko.
What is the highest accolade you have received in swimming, and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?
The highest accolade that I have achieved was to represent South Africa at the Common Wealth Games and Youth Olympics last year. These competitions are also the two of my greatest accomplishments as I was placed 9th in the 200 IM at Common Wealth Games and 7th at the Youth Olympics, but none of this would have been possible without Gods’ guidance and strength.
Do you have any specific regimens or rituals in swimming? Maybe a particular diet / training method that can be partially attributed to your success?
I think as an athlete we all love to eat, but our nutrition is one of the key factors that can be very beneficial to a good performance. Over the years I have learned what types foods works for me during a particular time in the season and I think it will work differently for each person. I love having my “good luck” meal, Spaghetti Boglonase, leading up to a competition. Other than that I would say the only other ritual I do before I dive in is that I look for my father and I show him my index finger meaning ‘number one’ and then I pray.
You have travelled outside SA for swimming before, where did you go and how did you experience it?
I am privileged to have had the opportunity to go abroad and compete there. My first competition outside of South Africa was in Nigeria for the Junior Africa Games and I can remember feeling so frightened of the unknown and it tested everyone to be strong and from that moment I knew I had to learn to adapt to the unknown. As the years progressed I have gone to places like Scotland, Spain, France, Netherlands, Dubai, Australia and China competing with the best athletes in the world. During these competitions I have learned how to adapt to a change in environments, I have learned how to suppress the pressure and deliver a good performance, I have learned how to stay focused, how to communicate with people speaking different languages and manage long periods of time without my family. Travelling outside SA has also made me appreciate our beautiful country as well as and everyone back at home.
How do you manage to fit in both sports and academics into your schedule?
I won’t lie, it is difficult. I leave home at 4:50 am, go for morning training, then school, then back to training and finally return home by 6:45 pm and then homework starts. However, my passion for swimming and achieving my goal gives me the motivation to get through this and takes me one step closer to my ultimate goal.
Besides your swimming, what do you have a passion for?
I love reading when I’m not training or doing school work. I also love staying in touch with the latest technology and cars on the market.
Tell me one thing about Marlies Ross that the world does not know?
I’m a bit of a ‘petrol head’. I love cars and everything that revolves around it. Just hearing the sound of a V8 engine roaring in my ears gives me goose bumps. Also very few people know that I was the World Champion in Biathle (running and swimming together in one race) in 2007 and 2011.
What do you do to relax?
I read and listen to music, catch up with some series on TV and spend time with my family.
Which athlete/ athletes inspire you?
Penny Heyns have always been one of my role models since a young age. After meeting her I have always admired her and how she became a successful swimmer. At Tuks I have always been exposed to numerous role models such as Suzaan van Biljon, Karin Prinsloo, Roland Schoeman and Cameron van der Burg who have and will continue to inspire me every day. There are so much that I have learned from them.
What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
I have three favourite quotes:
- Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your live a champion. – Muhammad Ali
- When you want to succeed as badly as you want to breath, that’s when you will be successful. – Eric Thomas
- The harder you practice the luckier you get. – Gary Player
What is your favourite Bible Verse?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. –Proverbs 3:5-6
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
As a young girl my father was diagnosed with cancer. He told me that whatever I do, I should never give up and I should remember that my strength form God lies within me. Every day that I look at him, I will never forget that piece of advice.
What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
I would say time management. It is difficult to do work while trying to further my swimming career but sometimes I just take a step back and take a few deep breathes before I continue with what I was doing.
When you’ve had a tough / bad day, what lifts you up again?
I seek refuge in the Lord and what better way to do it than by reading from my Bible. My family is always there to support me and to remind me why I am doing this.
I’m sure you have many things going on right now, what’s to be expected next from Marlies Ross?
Well this year I have SA Short Course to train for and I’m looking forward to seeing what progress I have made my. Ultimately I am working towards next year’s Olympic Games and hopefully my dream will become a reality.
Anything else you would like to share?
I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some of the things in my life with everyone out there. God bless.
Thank you so much Marlies for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your sports and academic journey ahead. We look forward to following you as you go from strength to strength. Blessings!
An image journey below and her Athlete Stats:
|Athlete: Bio / Stats|
|Name & Surname||Marlies Ross|
|Date of birth||1997/08/26|
|Place of birth||Pretoria|
|Coach’s Name||Igor Omeltchenko|
|Out of Country events/ meets||2014 – Commonwealth Games, Glasgow Scotland- Youth Olympics, China- Mare Nostrum in Italy, Barcelona & Monaco2013 – World Championships, Barcelona- Junior World Championships, Dubai|
|Secondary Sport/ sports||Athletics|
|Favorite City||Monaco (France) & Pescara (Italy)|
|Favorite Song/ type of music||R&B Pop|
|Favorite Movie||The Longest Yard/ Facing the Giants|
|School & Grade||Crawford College, Grade 12|
|Twitter and Instagram names, facebook name||Twitter: @marliesross8Instagram: marliesross8Facebook: Marlies Ross|