Jamie Hannah Reynolds, one of SA’s top girl athletes and brilliant swimmer shares her journey. When I connected with Jamie she immediately responded with vigour and passion. I love that ‘lets do this thing’ attitude in a young person! Jamie is proudly a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno, getting some brilliant coaching, academics and support in her quest for swimming excellence.
I have said this before and connecting with Jamie I say it again: I stand in awe, moved and inspired each and every time I connect with our young athletes. How blessed are we to see in our youth such a generation of World Changers and History makers rising up. This is why their stories MUST be told and their legacy in the making must be celebrated!
Jamie says this is HER WHY: “I do what I do, because I can’t imagine doing anything else. Swimming has been a part of my lifestyle throughout my life. I have made sacrifices in order to achieve my goals. I don’t strive to be any ordinary swimmer, but I strive to be the best, and I will keep working at it. I want to be able to prove to people, that when you put your mind to something and stay committed, anything is possible”.
|Athlete: Bio / Stats|
|Name & Surname||Jamie Hannah Reynolds|
|Date of birth||02 January 1998|
|Place of birth||Pietermaritzburg, KZN|
|Coach’s Name||Wayne Ridden|
|Out of Country events/ meets||Youth Commonwealth Games 2015, Samoa
All African U21 games, Zimbabwe
World cup swim series, Hong Kong
|Favorite Song/ type of music||Milky Chance –Flashed junk mind|
|Favorite Movie||Inside out|
|Tertiary Inst Name/ Year||University of Nevada, Reno / Freshman|
|Tertiary degree/ diploma||Business administration|
|Twitter and Instagram names, facebook name||Instagram: jamiehannah08
Facebook: Jamie Reynolds
|Parents Names, siblings||Parents: Bryan and Helen Reynolds
Siblings: Merryn and Abby
Q: You are currently studying and training out of country at the University of Nevada in the US this year. Do you want to share a little about this?
I have always wanted to study and forgo my swimming career in the U.S.A. Fortunately I was contacted by Coach Neil Harper, head coach of the University of Nevada’s swimming team, offering me a spot on their team. I started here in their spring and have currently spent just over 2 months on the team. I am absolutely loving being apart of such a successful and supportive team. The atmosphere, facilities and new experiences I have had, have been remarkable and I couldn’t have made a better decision.
Q: 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 started swimming at around the age of 8. From then onwards I started to go to private swim lessons and swim mini galas. As soon as I started to become more and more competitive in the sport, that’s when I decided that this was what I wanted to do. I was fortunate enough to train with a great bunch of swimmers at the Seals Swimming Club, during my school career. I was also fortunate enough to have been coached under Wayne Ridden, who always supported me in and out of the pool. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to have achieved what I have today without the support of my fellow teammates, coach and especially my family.
Q: Who are you?
I am a very relaxed person. I am always happy when I am around my family and friends and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything else. I don’t get worked up over small things. I believe that my time should be spent doing other things, rather than holding grudges.
Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in swimming and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?
My highest achievement for my swimming career so far would be being one of the four girls in the country selected, to represent South Africa in the Youth Commonwealth games in 2015.
Q: In your opinion, what is the value of Education in a young person’s life?
Education is vital to one. It helps your mind grow and opens up a whole new world for you. Many athletes rely on the sport they do to get them places in life, but the truth is, you can’t rely on your sporting talent forever. You always need a back up plan and the one thing someone can never take away from you; is the knowledge you have learned.
Q: Would you like to share a little bit more about your faith journey and how it has affected your life / sports?
I went through a stage in my swimming career where things weren’t going too great and my times weren’t improving. These are the hardest days any athlete can go through, as you train so hard, but are rewarded by nothing. My dad kept me motivated throughout this and told me to keep at it, keep believing and have faith. This taught me one of my major lessons in life. God always has a plan for you, you just have to be patient, keep at it and sooner or later it will come. It may not come when you would like it to come, but it will come when God knows is the right time.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I listen to music, hangout with my family or chill outdoors around the pool.
Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
“It never gets easier; you just get stronger.”
Q: What is your favourite Bible quote?
For with God nothing shall be impossible – Luke 1:37
Q: You were / are part of a small group of girls who was identified to go to Rio Olympics a while back in 2013, “Get the girls to Gold”, is this “program” still on track, and how is it working for you?
Unfortunately, this program is not still on track. It started off great, but slowly interest was lost, and the whole program fell apart.
Q: In your opinion, how do you define success in life?
Success is being able to get up at 4:30 in the morning, put in the hard hours of blood sweat and tears, and know its all going to be worth it in the end. As when you win that race, nothing can beat that feeling.
Q: What is your message of encouragement to our youth in SA and globally?
Once you find your passion, never give it up because its hard or because you may not be the best at it. Follow through with it, work hard at it and most importantly, don’t give it up, as if you try something, you risk failure, BUT if you don’t try, you risk nothing at all.
Q: How are you feeling about coming back home to SA next month and the Olympic trials at our beloved Kings Park?
I am feeling extremely excited to come back home and race in the Olympic Trials. I have been under a great new program here at Nevada. I have been putting in the hard work, working on my techniques and have had the greatest support from the team and the coaches. I look forward to see my improvement and what great things I can do in the pool.
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!
Some of the photos above: Credits to Lisa Gallager.
NB – All images were supplied by the athlete to Heslop Sports. If there are any images that are not credited correctly, please email email@example.com with the details and we will gladly do so immediately.