Next up in the Fresh & Hungry series, is our SA Junior swimming Champion girl Taneal Baptiste. This 16 year old Cornwall Hill College student is a hard working, big dreaming very determined athlete who gives everything a 100% go, from swimming to academics and even secretly sneaking in a Netball Inter-provincial Tournament! She describes herself as “sporty, energetic and one with a huge fighting spirit”.
Read on to find out more about this brilliant young athlete:
Athlete: Bio / Stats
|Name & Surname||Taneal Baptiste|
|Date of birth||7 May 1999|
|Place of birth||Pretoria, South Africa|
|Club||Players Swimming club|
|Coach’s Name||Grant Kritzinger|
|Out of Country events||Fina World Cup ( Dubai and Doha)
African Junior Championships (Zambia)
Dutch Short Course ( Netherlands)
|Secondary Sports||Netball and Tennis|
|Favorite City||Sydney and Caloundra ( Australia )|
|Favorite Song/ Type of music||R&B Pop|
|School & Grade||Cornwall Hill College , Grade 10|
|Instagram , Facebook|| Instagram: @taneal2424
Facebook: Taneal Baptiste
Q: You are passionate and doing so well in your swimming tell me a little bit about how you started in and your journey in the swimming arena up to now?
When I started swimming lessons I hated putting my face in the water or lying on my back but I soon got into the swing of things thanks to my learn to swim coach, Pam Reyneke who even today is interested in what I do. My older sister is a swimmer and I used to go with her to galas and sit on the side until one day my mom suggested I try a 50m breast stroke race and from then I was hooked! I just loved to race and still do.
Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in swimming and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?
Being a part of team South Africa at the 2013 Junior African Championships.
Being a part of the 4x50m mixed freestyle relay at the Fina World Cup 2014 in Dubai alongside Roland Schoeman, Leith Shankland and Lehesta Kemp. We were fortunate enough to win the gold medal and break the South African Record.
I have also medaled at level 3 and participated at Senior Nationals.
Q: You have travelled outside SA before, what are you highlights of these travels, and what does travelling do for your mindset/ perspective on things?
Yes I have been to the Fina World Cup in Dubai and Doha and to the Dutch short course championships in the Netherlands. I enjoy meeting other swimmers from different countries and observing how they do things, I have been lucky enough to meet some great swimmers like Katinka Hosszu , Alia Atkinson and my favourite – Ranomi Kromowidjojo, I have even had breakfast with George Bovell! Travelling opens up a new world for me in terms of how strong and fast people in other countries swim even those younger than me but this makes me want to train harder and get faster so that I can get up to world standards and so that I can continue international travel to compete in swimming as I love this aspect of it.
Q: You have represented Team SA for swimming before, where did you go and how did you experience it?
Yes I represented South Africa at the Junior African Championships in Zambia. It was my first “out of Africa” competition and I really enjoyed being part of a team and competing for my country. I also enjoyed meeting and competing against other people from Africa.
Q: How do you manage to fit in both sports and academics / work into your schedule?
I am always busy doing swimming, netball, tennis or homework! I just have to manage my time effectively and I don’t have much time to “chill”. I do most of my homework and studying on weekends or late at night.
Q: Tell me one thing about yourself that the world does not know?
I played for North Gauteng at the Inter-Provincial netball Tournament in 2012.
Q: What do you do to relax?
When I can relax which is not often I really like to lie on the couch and catch up all the TV programs I have missed! To hang out with my friends and family.
Q: Which athlete/ athletes inspire you?
My favourites are Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Cate and Bronte Campbell, Missy Franklin , Katinka Hosszu, George Bovell and Roland Schoeman. Roger Federer is in my opinion the best sportsman of them all.
Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
You have to be at your strongest when you’re feeling your weakest.- Kushandwizdom
Fly like a butterfly, Sting like a bee. – Muhammad Ali
Happiness isn’t about getting what you want all the time. It’s about loving what you have and being grateful for it.
Never give up!
Q: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Never give up even when the going gets tough – in all aspects of life!
Q: I’m sure you have many things going on right now, what’s to be expected next from you?
To keep training hard and always do my best and hope it pays off in races.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
I am grateful to Lehesta Kemp who has become not only my mentor but my friend and has taught me so much about how to handle swimming issues and life.
Thank you so much for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your journey ahead. We look forward to following you as you go from strength to strength. Blessings!