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Report Back – Adri Visser – Olympic Trials

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Always inspired by this great athlete Adri Visser, for her wisdom, courage, ability to rise above the odds and faith in our King Jesus. Congratulations Adri on qualifying for Rio Olympics, holding thumbs for your selection on team.


Q: You did brilliantly at SA Nationals / Olympic Trials 2016, with many podium positions, congrats and qualifying for Rio! It was still one of the toughest, and most important sporting events for a swimmer to attend. Would you like to share what is on your heart and mind regarding that champs and how you experienced it?

Wow, this year’s SA Senior Nationals & Paralympic Trials was certainly one for the books that I will never forget; the vibe was really overwhelming and pushed us as swimmers to really go for it.  Yes, it was a tough and very important one but in some way I knew in my heart that I would be able to swim my 50m S5 Butterfly MQS Qualifying time.  On Day 1 I swam a MET 200m I.M SM5 time, a good sign for the weeks swimming remaining.  The biggest blessing of it was that it was a personal best time in the 50m Butterfly of 51.62 with my previous Africa Record being 51.63.  That morning I was so emotional and thankful reaching my goal.    Getting a Gold in 100m Butterfly and Silver in the 50m Butterfly was really the cherry on the cake.

Q: What was your biggest challenge leading up to the Olympic Trials (if any), and how did you manage that challenge?

In the beginning I was concerned about my responsibilities as a honors student at the NWU Pukke, that I needed to prioritize everything so that nothing would fall behind or be neglected but quickly I found it not to be a problem at all as they were very accommodating and supportive in helping my dream to come true.  We (my brilliant coach Marike and I) worked the swimming sessions around class time so both could be done with 2 swim sessions on some days.  She has really been a pillar of strength for me in this time.

Q: What was your state of mind leading up to it?

I was very positive, believing that I had the ability to swim the time that I needed to qualify but must admit that I got stressed at a point where I just reached out to my friends, my friend Marco kept me grounded in my faith and supported me a 100% as Abie, Ben, Nannette and mom sent me encouragement when needed, they were all so amazing.  My sponsors Die Turke was so supportive too, they make the journey possible.  Marike made me strong by keeping me focused during warm ups & just being there for me.  Mostly I knew that God’s will would be done and that He would give me the strength to be Great*

Q: Why do you have such deep seated respect for your coach/es, support system along your journey?

As many know the journey to reaching your goals is never easy or a walk in the park, it has its ups and downs.  Truth be told.. a swimmer is only as great as what their coach is, all you need to do is swim your heart out, she will work on your strength, endurance, fitness, speed and perfect taper time when you fully trust and follow the programs to the best of your ability.  But it’s so much more than that, it’s having each other’s backs and setting goals together and meeting each other more than half way, encouragement when tired and a pat on the shoulder when doing well.  I’ve been swimming my best times ever and know that it would not have been possible without my coach Marike van Oort.

Q: What would your advice be to young teenage girls who are on this difficult and much challenged journey of swimming?

Don’t look at the difficulty or challenges of your journey, rather embrace your passion for your swimming, enjoy every moment during racing and training and most importantly is to stay humble when you reach the top.  No swimmer is strong on their own so trust your coach and lean on your friends & family in all that you do.

Q: Lessons learned/ notes to self so far on your swimming journey in general?

Positivity is the key to success and it’s not about how many times you fall but rather how many times about how fast you stand up.  Learn to except that there are things beyond your control and go the way God guides you to go.

Q: What is in the immediate pipeline for your swimming and academic careers?

I’m hoping to make the Rio 2016 Paralympic SA Team; I’m training really hard for it.  Being able to represent SA at such a level as I did in Beijing will really be a highlight in my career, I’m hoping to swim some more personal best times there.  Academically completing my honors degree next year and see where God takes me after that.  Perhaps doing more Motivation Talks would be fantastic!!

Q: Anything else you would like to share?

Swimming isn’t all about a Gold medal or fast time, it’s about feeling so alive and free when swimming that time and getting that splits and ranking down, it’s there where you except who you are and you feel like you and the water become one.  When trying your best and you don’t win that race, you’re a true champion when you congratulate your victor and being satisfied with who you are…


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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