Carissa van Rooyen, champion youth swimmer, so young and already such an inspiration, with such wise words of wisdom. Our youth are in class of their own and must never be underestimated. She has a rare blend of talent and commitment to hard work that can only result in success for the journey ahead. Humble, grounded and with a beautiful grateful heart and a resolute determination to make the most of every opportunity that comes her way, from academics to sport. She is proudly a learner at St Dominics School for Girls, where she loves and enjoys learning and working hard. Carissa is just back from her first international event and has come away from it honoured to represent our beautiful SA nation, richer and more hungry to work hard and succeed. Well done Carissa!
|Athlete: Bio / Stats|
|Name & Surname||Carissa van Rooyen|
|Date of birth||2 May 2002|
|Place of birth||Roodepoort, Gauteng, South Africa|
|Current City||Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa|
|Coach’s Name||Dean Price|
|Out of Country events/ meets||11th African Junior Championships, Cairo, Egypt, October 2015|
|Secondary Sport/ sports||Netball|
|School & Grade||St Dominics school for Girls, Boksburg, Grade 7|
|Describe yourself as a person.||I am disciplined and work hard to achieve my goals both long term and short term. I am a kind, loving and an understanding person. I love to help where it is possible.|
Q: Who are you?
I am a dedicated young girl who is passionate about what I do and why I do it. I am disciplined and work hard to achieve my goals both long term and short term. I am a kind, loving and an understanding person. I love to help where it is possible. I always give 200% when I participate in activities whether its school, sport or even a cultural event. Through downs and lows in my life I always strive to do my best no matter how bad the downs and lows get.
Q: At what age did you start swimming and why?
I started swimming at age 9 because at my old school a swimming coach told my mom that she sees potential in me and that my mom must take me to a professional coach to asses my ability.
Q: Would you like to share some highlights about your own sports events so far?
My first big highlight in swimming was the first time I broke a South African record. It was a very ecstatic day for me and to this day I still remember how I felt after I found out that I broke a National record. My second big highlight was finding out that I was selected to swim for Central Gauteng in a provincial gala. Then came the news that I was selected to swim for Gauteng Schools in a National gala. And so far the biggest highlight in my career was finding out that I was selected to swim for South Africa at the 11th African Swimming Championship held in Egypt in October 2015.
Q: You are just back from your first International event – Junior Africa Swimming Champs – Egypt, proudly part of Team SA – Congrats! How did you experience that?
First of all thank you so much, it was truly a honor representing my country in Egypt. My experience was truly amazing. I had so much fun at the gala although it was a lot of hard work and dedication towards the team . Focus was one of the key things we had to have and if you had a bad swim in the morning session then you had to learn from it and come back stronger than ever for the evening sessions. I learned very quickly that the gala was on a completely different level than what I was used to here in South Africa. The professionalism of the swimmers all over the continent was truly profound. I was lucky enough to have my mom with me in Egypt to get me water and keep an eye on me, even though I didn’t see her much. The coaches were very supportive towards the swimmers. I learned a lot and I definitely see swimming in a completely different perspective in the way that I respect the amount of hard work and dedication required for the sport. My first international gala was a great success and I am truly grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your home and school life?
My home is a very calm and supportive home. My mom is my number one supporter and I will be lost if I didn’t have her by my side to help me with ups and downs that come in my life. My school life is very busy but I have the best teachers and friends at St Dominics who are always there for me and help me to catch up when I miss out on work due to swimming i.e. I was at school for only 1 week in October 2015. I enjoy school and I work very hard at it and like I said without my mom by my side I would truly be lost. St Dominics is an amazing school and it plays a big role in why I love school so much.
Q: Why is it also important to try and excel at academics at school?
I think it is important to excel in academics because you can’t only have swimming as a background and expect work to come find you instead of the other way around, especially because school teaches you a lot of lessons on how to handle life. How hard you work at school determines how hard you will work in real life when you go out in the ‘wild’. I also find that there is absolutely no reason not to try and excel in academics as you are not helping yourself by being lazy and not appreciating that you in actual fact have been given an opportunity to set a successful future for yourself. I always say to my friends,’ if not why not’.
Q: What is your favorite food? And who must cook it J?
I would say pizza but then I will get in trouble with my coach, Dean Price. So my “favorite” food is ribs and chips and because my grandpa makes the most delicious sweet and sticky ribs (no offence mom) he will be the first and only person I would ask to make my ribs and chips.
Q: Who is your sports hero in the sports that you are involved in? What have you learned from him / her?
My sport hero is Michael Phelps and one thing that I have learnt from him is no matter how big of a curveball life throws you need to get back up, remember why and for what you are doing this and then you need to come back stronger and more committed than ever.
Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
My favourite motivational quote is: Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently-Henry Ford
Q: What is your favourite Bible Verse?
My favourite Bible Verse is Psalm 23 The Lord is my Sheppard.
Q: At this point and time – what are you most grateful for in your life?
I am most grateful for being given another chance everyday to work to my full potential and show people how great the Lords’ creations are and how limitless your potential is.
For now and for the future, how do you think that you can be a change-maker in our country through what you do in sports and the way you live your life?
I think I can show people that no matter what condition your life is in you still have the potential to do the most spectacular things in life by doing what you love and loving what you do.
Q: What is your message of encouragement to South African youth and the nation?
The message of encouragement is every time you even start to think about giving up because you think you aren’t good enough or strong enough then you need to think why you even started, what your goals are and why you set them in the first place. Sure there are going to be tough times but you need to push through because the reward you get at the end is much greater than that tiny little bump you had on your way. One of the quotes I love is to support this is: If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed-David Viscott
Thank you so much for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your sports and academic journey ahead. We look forward to following you as you go from strength to strength. Blessings!
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