This Dylan Barkhuizen is a young man of good stature and one to keep a keen eye on for the future. I have learned some deep lessons from him, his will to succeed really inspires, and when he talks about digging way, way deep to a achieve a result, not a medal, I can just imagine him at Future Olympic games proudly in his green and gold!
Dylan is deeply grateful towards his Coach Rocco Meiring, his parents and his teachers. He says “I’m hard working and very determined to reach my goals I have set for myself. I like to think that I’m a gentleman and treat others with respect. I believe it’s very important to remain humble and kind. It’s important to have good manners at all times. Be nice to the people you meet on the way up because you will meet them on the way down”.
Below is Dylan with SA Olympian – Brad Tandy
Athlete: Bio / Stats
|Name & Surname||Dylan Barkhuizen|
|Nick Name||Dude / Bear|
|Date of birth||1995/01/15|
|Place of birth||South Africa, Johannesburg|
|Secondary Sport/ sports||Was rugby until Gr10|
|Favorite City||New York|
|Favorite Song/Type of music||Electronic Dance Music|
|Favorite Movie||American Sniper|
|School & Grade||Cornwall Hill College|
Facebook: Dylan Barkhuizen
|Parents Names, siblings||Dean, Brenda and Katelyn my sister|
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 loved being in the water since I can remember and never went to swimming lessons to learn how to swim, my mom says I was a natural. I only started going to swimming lessons when I was in Gr1 and made the CHC swimming team. I still played cricket and rugby as my winter school sports and competed in international hip hop dancing competitions until I was 12 years old. I only decided to stop cricket and dancing when I couldn’t fit everything in but I still loved playing rugby. I had to make one of the most difficult decisions ever and in Gr10 I had to choose between rugby and swimming, after much deliberation I chose swimming when I got concussion just before a major gala which I couldn’t compete in. Since Gr10 I have upped my game in swimming concentrating on improving my times, I met Brad Tandy who is a freestyle swimmer swimming in the USA for The University of Arizona, after chatting to him I decided to focus on getting into the USA for swimming. This was a game changer for me and I’ve had to change a lot in order to reach my goal. I changed swimming coaches and have gone from 5 sessions a week at 1 ½ hours a day to 9 sessions a week at 2 hours in the afternoons and 1 ½ 3 mornings a week. I also moved from Math Lit up to Math as the USA requires Math as a subject for university. It’s been very tough adapting to a tougher training regime and improving my academic marks at the same time.
Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in swimming and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?
I would have to say swimming Youth Nationals last year was my highest accolade but my greatest personal accomplishment was making L3 when I was 15. My birthday falls in January which means I have to swim age up in qualifying times, so while my age group friends were qualifying for L3 year after year I would always miss it by splits. At NTS Champs in 2014 I swam the 100 Fly where I was seeded first. In the heats in the afternoon I swam next to Gerhard Zandberg in the outer lane, at the last 5m mark I chocked on the water from his wake putting on 2 seconds and scraping into the final for that night. I had to make a L3 time in the finals or I would stop swimming. That night I was placed in lane 1 which is not ideal, I remember the pressure and support from the other swimmers, knowing that a gold was not my objective but rather a time. I took a deep breath and got onto the blocks knowing what was at stake. That night I swam my L3 time as well as a Youth time and won gold. It was my Olympic moment.
Q: What was your last major champs/ meet/ tournament/ and how did you experience it?
I have just returned from L3 in PE and am now training for Youth. I did very well taking time off all my events except for the 50 free. I swam 17 – 18 so the competition is very tough as some of the guys are turning 19 in the next few days and I have just moved coaches. I’m really looking forward to 2017.
Q: In your opinion, what is the value of Education in a young person’s life?
Education is vital, we were lucky enough to meet and chat to the National coach for Spain and as he pointed out, maybe one or two of us will be lucky enough to make money off swimming so his advice was to keep education as a priority.
Q: Would you like to share a little bit more about your faith journey and how it has affected your life / sports?
Faith is very important, when you feel like giving up you have to remember that God gave you a talent and you should use it to your best ability.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I play Sony Playstation online with my friends; I also love playing with my dog Sven.
Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
Lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.
Q: What is your favourite Bible Scripture?
For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37
Q: What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
My biggest challenge is always swimming age up; it’s hard to stay motivated because you never see the rewards in terms of medals or making finals at Levels so you constantly have to remind yourself that there is a bigger goal I have to achieve which is to improve my times. If I was swimming in my age group I would be medalling.
Q: Your definition of success?
As long as you have reached your goals you have set out to achieve no matter how big or small, not giving up is a successful person not matter the circumstances.
Q: What’s your WHY?
I am doing what I’m doing to get into a Division One or Two university in the USA. It’s my dream and my passion. It doesn’t mean I’m not loyal to South Africa, it just means I would really like to use swimming to enhance my academic and business career after school, if I return to SA I will use my skills to develop or motivate others to do the same if I feel it was the right decision I made. If my swimming improves and I can qualify for the Olympics then I’ll definately do that. Unfortunately the reality of making the cut in SA for the Olympics is very slim, I realized that last year at Nationals, and decided then instead of giving up on a passion – I would put that passion to use in a different direction.
Q: What is your message of encouragement to South African and African youth and our nation?
Swimming is an excellent sport for your body and soul, if you don’t take swimming further it’s a brilliant sport to keep fit and you can always participate in it no matter your age. It also teaches you discipline, commitment and dedication.
Q: What are you most grateful for in your life at the moment?
I’m grateful for having parents who support my dream and when the going gets tough or hard they keep me focused and motivated. My coach and teachers have also been so supportive and my friends always understand when I can’t always do the things they do because I have early morning training.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
Never give up!!!
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!
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