Christopher Reid has proved himself to be a great swimming champion and new Olympian. This gentle giant speaks with such humility, deep gratefulness and much love and respect for all on his life journey so far. He has truly crept into the hearts of many in our nation, who will be urging him on, at the world’s largest sporting arena in Rio come this August.
This young man has through many youth years of dedication, hard work and persistence risen all the way to the top, despite many challenges in his young life. He qualified at the SA Olympic trials with such a blast when his broke the Gerhard Zanderg 100m national backstroke record and rose to 5th in world rankings. But all of this was not even on his mind on that historic day – giving his EVERYTHING was the only thing that mattered.
Christopher says “I am a gentle giant who is hard working, determined, resilient and passionate. If I was to become successful one day, I would want to show humility even though I am successful as I have come from humble beginnings. I would also want to be open minded and accept criticism from others”.
Christopher, our nation is behind you as you do your final preparations for Rio and we cannot wait to see you victorious in Rio.
Photo Credits – Heslop Sports
Athlete: Bio / Stats
|Name & Surname||Christopher Reid|
|Date of birth||10 January 1996|
|Place of birth||Port Elizabeth, South Africa|
|Current City||Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA|
|Weight||215lbs or 98kg’s|
|Club||University of Alabama (USA) and Aquabear Swimming Club (South African Club)|
|Coach’s Name||Will Leonhart|
|Favorite City||Nanjing, China|
|Favorite Song/ type of music||I am a big rap fan, with artist like Lil Wayne, Drake, DMX, Jay Z and Dr Dre I mostly listen to.|
|Favorite Movie||We are Marshall|
|Tertiary Inst Name/ Year||University of Alabama/ 2019|
|Tertiary degree/ diploma||Finance and economics|
|Twitter and Instagram names, facebook name||Twitter: @Chris_PReid
|Parents Names, siblings||Mother: Ronel Reid
Father: Darryl Reid
Sister: Rayne Reid
Sister: Hannah Reid
Photo Credits – Brian Spurr Photography
Q: You have just realized a lifelong dream to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Wow and well done. What is on your heart and mind right now concerning this qualification?
The first feeling that came to mind the moment I qualified for the Olympics was relief. My expectations had been satisfied, my promise has been fulfilled and I no longer had to ask myself, ‘What if?”. Leading up into the Olympic trials, I had spent 15 months of training I had never done before. I had done a complete 180-degree swing from the type of training I did in South Africa to what I now do in the States. So for anyone who goes through an experience like that, there would be a lot of doubt in one’s mind as to what can happen. So for me, I would have to say I the happiest and most relaxed I have ever been in my life.
Q: This will be your maiden and a very special Olympics, especially because your late father wanted it so much for you. Do you want to share little on this (your dad and your swimming)?
Well, when I initially started off swimming, I was just swimming because it was really fun for me and I loved the feel of the water. When I was younger, I showed a lot of promise in the pool whenever I would race and my father took to that. He would spend hours searching the web, finding ways for me to improve. This would range from finding different drills I could do to improve my stroke to analyzing race strategies that I could apply to my races. Now, I would like to point out that my father never forced me to do anything. Many people would make comments saying my father was pushing me too hard and putting a lot of pressure on me to perform. This was never the case. Both my parents never acted in such a manner and always allowed me to make my own decisions when it came to swimming. So my father was basically my full time coach. We would always discuss my training and my improvements with each other and would analyze my swim meets once I had completed them to learn what I can improve on. As I started making a name in the South African swimming community, my father was making his own name. He was known by nearly everybody. He loved talking to everyone and made friends with the whole community. My father was my greatest fan and is missed not only by my family and I, but the whole swimming community.
Q: What did it feel like when you smashed Gerhard Zandberg’s record in the morning?
To be honest, I was not even going for his record. My goal coming into the swim meet was to do my absolute best I could do. If I was to qualify for the Olympics games, break records and rank highly in the world, those would all be bonuses. So once I had completed the race and got out to pool, someone told me I had broken the record, I was just filled with even more joy and emotion. Gerhard was always a role model for me growing up. So having broken his record and have Gerhard come and congratulate me personally just added even more emotion to the occasion.
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 at round about 13 years old? What was your regime like at that age?
When I was 13 years old, I was fortunate enough to have talent on my side. I was struggling with numerous injuries (Shoulders and lower back), which affected my training. I was still able to compete at my age group nationals and be somewhat successful, but I had to work extremely hard and be dedicated at that age to still achieve my usual results. I was able to overcome my injuries a year later, but my weekly regime would consist out of double swim practices, Monday through Friday with a Saturday morning session and for an hour every night before bed, I did my injury prevent exercises to either prevent future injuries or to help me overcome my current injuries. My attitude at that age was to pretty much outwork all my competitors.
Q: Beside swimming, what else do you have a passion for?
I am extremely passionate about family. Having gone through what I have with my family, all I can say is that I love my family and cannot replace them. That goes for my true friends who I consider family as well.
Q: What is your personal favorite motivational quote?
“I choose to fight back! I choose to rise, not fall. I choose to live, not die…” (It’s from the movie, “Any Given Sunday”)
Photo Credits Heslop Sports
Q: In your opinion, how do you define greatness in life?
Achieving an incredible feat and still remain the same person you were before achieving that feat.
Q: What’s your WHY?
I want to be the best. When the day comes when I stop swimming, I want to look back and say that I was the best there was then. Why do I do it? Because I have an extremely love for water and I am extremely passionate in whatever I do. My Passion breeds determination. My determination breeds resiliency and my resiliency enables me to achieve.
Q: One thing about you that the world does not know 🙂
I enjoy watching chick flicks with my mom
Q: Favorite meal?
Deep fried crumbed chicken pieces with crispy fries, bourbon barbeque sauce and a sweet tea!
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
I just want to express my gratefulness and thank everyone who has been part of my journey. From my family, friends, coaches, teammates and supporters, I thank you for continuously being there for me when I need you. Also I am incredibly blessed to receive so much support from the South African swimming community, Port Elizabeth swimming community, Grey High School, Pearson High school and the University of Alabama. If it was not for any of these people, I would not be where I am today. Thank you!
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!