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Up-Close with Vanessa Mohr

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Vanessa Mohr, one of SA’s swimming stars, shines brightly not only in the swimming arena but in life. She is balanced, dedicated and determined. She speaks with such wisdom, insight, and compassion about life issues like success, education, and being challenged. Vanessa truly leaves a rich message for the youth of our country and continent in her interview below. She is a strong academic studying B.Com Investment at TUKS at the moment and is to be saluted for her resolve and success in managing sport and studies. She has this to say about herself “ I’m an obsessive compulsive perfectionist passionate about fitness, art and calculus”. Vanessa is currently at the 2nd leg of the Grand Prix in Durban – all the best there!


Athlete Bio:

Name & Surname Vanessa Mohr
Nickname Van
Date of birth 7 March 1995
Place of birth Pretoria
Current City Pretoria
Height 169cm
Shoe size 6
Club Tuks Aquatics
Name of coach Linda de Jager, Igor Omeltchenko & Claire Rolt
International events African Games (Congo, August 2015) & many other junior/senior events representing SA
Favourite city Barcelona
Favourite songs “Headlines” by Drake, “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles & “Radio” by Lana Del Rey
Favourite Movies “The Rum Diary”, “Cinderella”, “Inglourious Basterds” & “The Imitation Game”
Tertiary institution UP
Degree of study BCom Investment Mgt (2nd year)
Instagram @van_mohr
Names of parents Carin & Werner Mohr
Name of brother Marinus



Q: How did you get started in swimming and what has your journey been like up until now?

I started swimming when I was 18 months old. My passion and love for the water never died and I’ve been swimming competitively since age 7. Through the years many opportunities outside swimming came about, however in the end swimming always managed to stay my number one priority.

Q: Who are you? (Briefly describe yourself as a person).

 I’m an obsessive compulsive perfectionist passionate about fitness, art and calculus. 

Q: What is your greatest personal achievement in swimming?

I have competed internationally several times and every time I get to step onto the international stage I see it as a huge personal accomplishment. I think my biggest victory, however, lies in the amount of times I’ve gotten back up after being knocked down.

Q: How did you experience African Games last year in Brazzaville?

African Games was a learning experience for me, as well a time to make some decisions. I got some much needed motivation from my performances to launch me into the new season, and to train a little harder than before. It was also really inspiring to see how sport can unite a continent and bring cultures together, especially in Africa, and also to create an opportunity for developing countries to grow.

Q: In your opinion, what is the value of education in a young person’s life?

Education is of the utmost importance in a young person’s life. I believe that every young person should have the chance to receive tertiary education through and together with sport.

Q: How has your faith journey affected your life and sporting career?

Excluding external motivation, we all need an inner drive and passion to guide us towards success in all aspects of life. Having a strong moral foundation and knowing what you stand for and believe in will always be the basis of success.

Q: What do you do to relax?

I love tanning, coffee dates, skiing and long naps.

Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Q: What is your favourite bible verse?

Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you”


Q: What is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome that challenge?

Studying after a long day’s training or training after a long study session is definitely the hardest part of being a student athlete. Two Beroccas usually help (ha-ha). Oh and coffee… Lots and lots of coffee.

Q: How do you define success?

Success is defined by achieving a realistic, predetermined goal within a specific timeframe. Or at least that’s what the psychologists say. I believe success is finding something that is a source of true happiness every day, which motivates and drives you to become an extraordinary version of yourself.

Q: What is your “WHY” and how do you see yourself influencing the youth of our country?

I believe in doing anything for the love of it and if you can inspire others while you’re at it, even better.

Q: What is your message of motivation for the youth of South Africa and Africa?

If you do everything you do to the fullest of your potential, you will always reach the top, no matter where you started.

Q: What are your plans for 2016?

I’m currently training for the Grand Prix events in Durban and Stellenbosch during February. This should be great preparation toward trials in April.


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!

NB – All images were supplied by the athlete to Heslop Sports. If there are any images that are not credited correctly, please email info@heslopsports.co.za with the details and we will gladly do so immediately.

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