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Daily Archives: May 1, 2016


Memoirs of a Swimmer’s Mom: Carissa van Rooyen

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Liezel van Rooyen has become such a voice of reason and inspiration for me as I follow the journey of her young athlete daughter Carissa van Rooyen. She speaks from the heart about the realities of a young adolescent girl in swimming, the challenges and the deep faith and hope for the journey ahead. This type of realistic yet hopeful balance mixed with light hearted fun, is what will see Carissa all the way to the top and realise her dreams for the future. Mothers are the quiet in the storm, the moral grounding, the ever helping hands, eyes, ears and hearts behind the success of all our athletes. Thank you Liezel for permissions to share your journey and aspirations to encourage many others on their own path, in this tough yet beautiful sport of swimming. Heslop Sports not only celebrates young athletes, but their mommy’s too :-)!

Carissa ot 2

It is day 5 at SA Nationals and the finals is due to start at 18:30. It is our (Carissa van Rooyen and myself) 1st Nationals. Today was Carissa’s 2nd event, the 100m freestyle and she managed to take of 1/2 second from her PB this morning. She is still feeling the strain in her legs and arms from the 100m backstroke events (x 3) she swam on Monday and Tuesday. She would have liked to have done better today but we are both ecstatic about todays achievement and grateful to be here. During lunch we discussed the previous 2 years challenges we faced, and there were many. We also reflected on her swimming achievements which included NO movement in many of her swimming times as puberty arrived and we realise that she may hit another wall or two during her swimming career. We agreed that all the time, energy and sacrifices incurred were worth all the pain, suffering and joy this sport introduced into our lives. No amount of money can account for this and this in its own is priceless!

Carissa OT1.php

Final day done at SA Nationals and Olympic Trials 2016. Well done to Carissa van Rooyen, who is coming home with the following after your first SA Nationals:
Elite Youth Bronze Medal and 4th over all place in Finals for the 100m back with a PB time.
200m back stroke 11th place.
50m back stroke – Gold and SA National Champion 2016 with a PB time.
Silver medal for the CGA Woman A team in the 4 X 100m Medley Relay,
and most importantly, you are coming back even more humble, focused and determined to succeed with a great new wealth of experience.

Thank you coach Dean Price!!!

The greatest inspiring moments for us though may lie in the greatest disappointments experienced during the gala. What an amazing experience. Good luck to our Olympic Qualifiers in RIO and best of luck for the swimmers who will come back and try again on 2020!

Carissa van Rooyen‘s initiation as a newbie (or freshie) at SA National Aquatics Championship and Olympic Trials…She had to propose to Jordon le Clos. He said yes! I need to undo this before a date is set.

Champs Report Back Home Sports Swimming

Report Back: Carissa van Rooyen – SA Nationals and Olympic Trials 2016

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Carissa shares on the valuable experiences, lessons learned, mind set at the time of these 2 big meets,. These are so important to store and look back on  for the journey forward. Well done Carissa proud of you!


Meet / Championships Report Back

Name & Surname Carissa van Rooyen
Name of Meet SA Nationals and Olympic Trials/ SA Level 3 Nationals
Date of Meet April 2016/ March 2016
City and Country Durban, South Africa/ Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Names of various Events participated in? Main events:

SA Level 3 Nationals (March 2016)

50m, 100m and 200m backstroke

50m and 100m Freestyle

50m Butterfly

SA Nationals and Olympic Trials (April 2016)

50m, 100m and 200m backstroke

50m and 100m Freestyle

4 X 100m Medley Relay – Woman – Central Gauteng A team

Names of medals/ awards received for which events? SA Nationals and Olympic Trials:

Gold – 50m backstroke – Woman – National Champion

Bronze – 100m backstroke – Elite Youth

4th place overall – 100m backstroke – Woman

11th place overall – 200m backstroke – Woman

Silver – 4 X 100m Medley Relay – Woman – Central Gauteng A team.

SA Level 3 Nationals

2 X Individual Gold (50m and 100m backstroke)

2 X Individual Silver )50m freestyle and 200m backstroke)

4th place – 50m fly

5th place – 100m

Highlights of the event? SA Nationals and Olympic Trials

This was my 1st SA Nationals and on top of it the Olympic Trials. Both these occurrences at the same time were extraordinary. My initiation as a first year was definitely a highlight. Witnessing history being made completely blew me away and living the disappointment of those who did not qualify was draining yet motivational.

I don’t think much will top when I won the 50m backstroke event and being a National Champion at age 13. In more ways than one this gala completely changed my perspective towards swimming and a new found respect developed for the sport.

SA Level 3 Nationals

I have not had two seasons of good training and having had a better training season in the 2015/ 2016 season helped me to look forward to doing better at this gala. A great highlight was meeting Olivia Nel. She woke us up and it was great racing against her. Another great highlight was to realise that you are as  good as your last swim and that we have excellent competition and swimmers in South Africa.

My 50m Free and Fly events stood out for me as I shocked myself when I completed the swims. I was very happy with the times I swam.

Lessons learned from the event? SA Nationals and Olympic Trials

I learned at this event how to deal with great stress and that I can be as good as I allow myself to be. I also learnt that the body only goes as far as the mind pushes it.

SA Level 3 Nationals

There is a BIG difference between racing fast vs hard. I nearly lost the 100m backstroke because I swam too hard in wanting to achieve my goal time. I also learned the discipline in swimming tactically – time should not always be an objective but knowing your competitor is very important.

General observations and vibe of the meet? SA Nationals and Olympic Trials

This gala was amazing. The stress, the emotions, the competition – wow, what an experience.

SA Level 3 Nationals

The focus and discipline of all the swimmers was great. Here you competed against your age group peers and you got a clear understanding of where you stand .

What/ who / motivated you throughout the meet / champs? SA Nationals and Olympic Trials

My main motivation here was to see how hard I can push myself but to have fun and enjoy the experience. The swimmers who qualified for the Olympics was also a great motivation.

SA Level 3 Nationals

My motivation for this gala was to see if I can improve my best strokes and hopefully surprise myself with strokes that I don’t focus on.

Biggest challenge leading up to / at the meet? SA Nationals and Olympic Trials

To see if I can make a semi-final or even a final.

SA Level 3 Nationals

I broke my finger  a few weeks before level 3 and it was an obstacle that I had to overcome leading up to levels  and I was worried that it would affect my racing.

Anything Else you want to mention I just want to congratulate everyone who participated in both galas. I want to thank everyone for their support especially my mom who was 100% behind me throughout the whole gala. I don’t think I would’ve done what I achieved without her and I am truly grateful for her presence and support in my life. Also a big thank you to you Cresi for this opportunity to discuss the galas.

















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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