Devon Myles Brown, has just fulfilled a lifelong dream and qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016 at Kings Park Pool in Durban last month. Since he made headlines last year by breaking SA’s longest standing record (Ryk’s) in the 400m freestyle, he has gone from strength to strength and he just keeps on raising the bar, on excellence and hard work. And this not only in the sports arena, but also in his wisdom, humility and balanced approach to life. This comes out to poignantly in the up close interview below.
He realised his ultimate Olympic dream, against all odds and despite the fact that in physique as a youth he was always the smallest. All I can say is – “You cannot measure heart.”
Heartfelt congratulations to this noble Olympian, his ENTIRE support team on the journey to the top – proud Parents, coaches Graham Hill and Delon Dannhauser, sponsors Arena, his love Tess Williams and Club Seagulls. Myles, we wish you all the very best on your last stretch of the Road to Rio. May your hard work pay of richly as to fly the SA flag high on the world’s largest sporting area in August 2016 in Brazil.
Photo Credits: Brian-Spurr-Photography
Q: Firstly congrats on qualifying for Rio! You have just realized a lifelong dream! Wow and well done. What is on your heart and mind right now concerning this qualification?
Thank you very much! I think when I first saw that I had qualified it was just a major relief to be honest. Having just missed out in 2012, it was tough for me, but I know anything can happen at the trials and obviously there is added pressure seeing as it is an Olympic year. But now that things have settled, I’m really happy to have taken that first step towards making my childhood dream come true. Its pretty cool.
Q: What was your biggest challenge leading up to Olympic Qualifiers, and how did you manage that challenge?
I suppose just staying focused and not letting the pressure of the event get the better of me. I had swum the qualifying time numerous times leading up to the event, so it was important not to be complacent and over confident and just stay level headed and focused on what needed to be done.
Q: Respecting and being grateful for the journey that you, your parents and coaches have been on till now. Also for the benefit and encouragement of young and up-coming little dreamers that see you as a HERO 🙂 – how was your swimming performances in early youth? What was your regime like at that ages?
I’m obviously extremely grateful to my support system and without them none of this would ever be possible. I think its vital to find the right people to surround yourself with because its those people that are going to help you the most in your times of need and hardship. I was a very small kid at age 13/14, it was a major issue for me as everyone I raced was always so much bigger and stronger than me… I thought I would never grow. I stuck to my strengths, which was my endurance, so I focused on the longer distance races and open water, even though I never won, I was a lot more competitive and that kept my interest in swimming alive. I loved my swimming but I made sure I kept my other interests like rugby, water polo, and tennis. I think that was important although a couple years later I did need to start focusing on fewer sports even though I continued to play water polo until matric. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and do what you love, I loved my swimming but it was tough always being the smallest, I had to work even harder than anyone else and that put my in good stead when I did eventually grow!!
Photo Credits: Brian-Spurr-Photography
Q: Why do you have such deep seated respect for your coaches?
Well doing the things we do, we spend so much time with our coaches. They are there to help you get better everyday and they have been around a lot longer and know way more than you do. So its important to trust in your coaches, listen to them and ensure that you always give 100%. My coaches have elevated my swimming and helped me become the swimmer I am today and I am always grateful for the sacrifices they also make to make me a better swimmer everyday.
Q: In your opinion, how do you define greatness / success in life?
I think it’s not always about winning trophies and being the best but being the best that you can be. Always aim to be the best but as long as you are doing all that you can do and you are giving your all, you will be successful. Its about staying humble in victory and gracious in defeat, saying nothing when you lose and saying less when you win.
Q: What is your message of encouragement to our nation / youth?
We have an amazing nation with beautiful lands and beautiful people, be proud to be called a South African. We have faced so many hardships and always come through them better, which I feel is our greatest strength as a nation. Always give your best, work hard and take pride in what you do and who you are.
Photo Credits: Bryan Spurr Photography
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