Chelaine van der Westhuizen’s excellence and dedication in her swimming stems from a very interesting and beautiful blend of the best of SA and USA’s swim coaching having trained and lived both locally and in the USA. She does not shy away from the daily grind to reach her big dream. This young lady is grounded in her faith in Christ, which gives her that extra edge. She is not only brilliant swimmer but a deep thinker and caring human being.
She says: “I see myself as a hardworking person who likes to surround herself with positive and happy people. I am always in a good mood and love spending time with friends, family and laughing as much as I can. I am always smiling. I don’t like to see people and animals suffering, and will always try to assist wherever I can. I would like to see myself as being known as a person that is always humble and helpful, to others less fortunate than myself. I love opportunities to share my knowledge and experience with the younger swimmers, and to mentor them in their journey as young sport stars”.
Athlete Bio Stats
Name and Surname : Chelaine van der Westhuizen
Nick Name : Chelaine’”tjie
Date of Birth : 24 October 2001
Place of Birth : Krugersdorp
Current City : Pretoria
Height : 1.69m
Weight : 51Kg
Shoe Size : Size 6
Club : TUKS Swimming
Coach Name : Rocco Meiring
Secondary Sports : No time for other sports
Favorite City : Paris “The city of lights”
Favorite Song : People like us “Kelly Clarkson”
Instagram Name : Chelafish_vdw
Facebook Name : Chelaine van der Westhuizen
Community Church : TUKS REVOLT YOUTH CHURCH
Parents Names : Robyn & Gerrit van der Westhuizen
Siblings : I’m an only child
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.
My love for water started at a young age during my water safety for babies’ classes, crying and screaming when they took me away from the pool. Later my family moved to Durban where I took part in an inter house school gala, here my love for the sport started. My journey in swimming has been a rocky one, but also in a good sense. I was given so many opportunities and experiences, like swimming in the USA, meeting swimming legends, and having the opportunity of being coached by good coaches in South Africa and the USA. I believe the experience from this will be very valuable for the rest of my journey of which I am very excited about.
Q: Who are you? Describe yourself as a person.
I see myself as a hardworking person who likes to surround herself with positive and happy people. I am always in a good mood and love spending time with friends, family and laughing as much as I can. I am always smiling. I don’t like to see people and animals suffering, and will always try to assist wherever I can. I would like to see myself as being known as a person that is always humble and helpful, to others less fortunate than myself. I love opportunities to share my knowledge and experience with the younger swimmers, and to mentor them in their journey as young sport stars.
Q: What is your highest accolade that you have achieved in Swimming and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?
- In 2014 July at the FGC (Florida Gold Coast) Junior Olympics LCM 14 & under, I broke a Pine Crest Club Record that stood for 10 years in the 100m Breaststroke at that same meet I also broke the 200m Breast Club Record.
- In 2015 I swam FGC (Florida Gold Coast) Junior Olympics LCM 14 & Under in Florida where I came first in the 100m Breaststroke and 200m Breaststroke events.
- 2014/2015 swim season I ended top 5 in Florida USA
- I swam Senior Nationals, Olympic Trials in 2016
Q: Would you like to share a little bit more about your faith journey and how it has affected your life/sports?
I believe that God gives us all a talent, and that we need to develop it to the best of our ability. , He asks from us the commitment and also expect us to share this with others having the same talent. I try to always remember this when I am swimming. Sometimes when things get tough, and when the times are not getting better, we tend to forget where we come from, that is when your faith in God, his trust in you and your talent pulls you through.
Q: I believed you lived in the USA for a while – How did you experience that? Biggest lesson learned?
I absolutely loved living in the US, I made so many new and good friends, but life there is different, children there have so much more freedom and are protected from dangers and harm. I went to Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, I truly enjoyed the school but I must also say that, I learned very quickly that you need to stay true to yourself and not loose your identity in the USA. You have to ensure that you don’t change due to the peer pressure and cultural differences. In swimming there are big differences in the US, your competitors are not your friends, and the pressure of winning is much higher, swimming facilities are very good, and swim meets or galas as we know it, are well organized. High School Team swimming is much bigger there. What lessons did I learn, well coming from South Africa, short course yards swimming was tough , the US swimmers, grow up swimming Short course yards, it took me one season to get into the style of swimming. For me it was tough competing you have to have good turns and dives swimming short yards. No place for errors as the distance is 25yards. I learned not to give up and kept going.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I never really have time to relax, but when this special occasion is upon me, I hang out with friends, or my family, or yes you won’t believe it I, relax around the pool. I love catching up on movies and sleep. I am in a Boarder so every Friday evening we have some time to ourselves where I enjoy playing games and having fun with my Hostel friends.
Q: In your opinion, what is the value of Education in a young person’s life?
The value of education is very important it plays a huge role in your development, it taught me time management and discipline.
My parents taught me that School first and swimming second, I believe that my Education needs to be first priority, if you have a good education you can always have a backup. Sport is very important but Education needs to be number one priority.
Q: So you are a brilliant swimmer and academic – but name 1 thing that you suck at.
That would most probably be running, I can’t stand running and then the sweaty smell afterwards, oh yes and bugs, the flying ones.
Q: What is your personal favorite motivational quote?
“The one who falls is so much stronger than the one who never fell”
Q: What is your favorite Bible/Scripture quote?
“Anyone can find the dirt in someone, be the one who finds the gold” – Proverbs 11:27
Q: In your opinion, how do you define success in life/how do you define a successful person?
I think to be a successful person is to reach your dreams whilst staying humble in the process. This means bringing people up with you and not running them down.
Q: Whats your Why? Why do you do what you do.
Well I don’t have a Why, but rather a Why not? Why not wake up at 4:30 in the morning, why not win a gold medal , why not work hard at achieving my goals, I think that all answers that I have for these questions will probably just come back to what I love the most, Swimming. I do what I do because I have the desire to make something out of my life and my sport career.
My plan is to help develop the sport as well as the development of young people within the sport. Swimming has a wonderful way of solving problems, curing pain and getting rid of worries. I think Children, and teenagers….remember I am a teenager now, needs something to hold onto during tough and challenging times to keep them focused. I believe swimming can give that bit of hope, stability and structure.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
I would just like to thank everyone who has helped me through my journey as a swimmer, all of this wouldn’t have been possible without all of you, my Parents, Sponsors, Coach, and my friends.
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!