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Olympic Hopes: Hendrik van der Merwe

A man strong on gratefulness is one that has his foundations in life firmly laid for success, and one thing that always comes strongly to the front with Hendrik is his grateful heart. With Rio Paralympic Games now only  about 200 days away the excitement builds, not only within the supporters like me :-), but especially with athletes. Today I catch up with Coach Hendrik van der Merwe. A great Olympian, true athlete, and a man who does not shy away from long hours and hard work. One who personally knows the “grind”, with a deep passion and dedication to see his young athletes that he coaches progress to the top. Hendrik – is a true hero to many young swimmers!Hendrik is also proudly brand ambassador for brilliant sports nutrition brand – Whasp Nutrition.


2015 in review?

I have a few highlights from 2015. I think the first would be in April at Senior Nationals in Durban: I got very ill a few weeks before nationals, I was on strong antibiotics came nationals, long story short, I still managed to qualify for IPC world championships held in Scotland and medal in the 50 and 100m breaststroke events as well as breaking an African relay record, with team mates Kevin Paul, Achmat Hassiem, and James Bezuidenhout.

My second highlight would be the year end time period. I got very ill at World Champs in Glasgow. I picked up asthma there and was sick for about 8 weeks. I started racing some age group galas again and then raced NTS and CGA champs. I hit times that I haven’t seen in a while and won the 100m breast at CGA champs.

The third highlight was seeing all my kids hard work pay off at the Mayoral Gala and NTS champs. A lot of blood sweat and tears was put in from the swimmers and coach.

The forth was signing a contract and becoming brand ambassador for Whasp Nutrition.

Life is like an onion: always challenge yourself to peel away the older layers, to find fresher and stronger layers.


Sports plans for 2016?

The plan for this year will be what it will be and always have been: Consistent hard work along with continuous mind shifts; this is the way forward, encountering problems and finding solutions. Levels are coming up for the kids, and Olympic trails are also around the corner in April.

What are you most looking forward to for this year 2016?

I am looking forward to trails at Senior Nationals (I love the atmosphere when it is an Olympic year), and I am also looking forward to the development of my swimmers. Of course there is Rio Paralympics but I will still have to qualify for that.

What is your biggest motivation at the moment?

If you stop to throw rocks at every dog that barks at you, then you will never reach your destination – Winston Churchill. Qualifying for Rio Paralympics is my motivation, and my swimmers performing to the best of their abilities.

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

Time, I think time is, because I have to balance coaching, full time training and meal prep.

What are your upcoming events where your fans can follow  and support you?

Nedbank champs 22 March

Senior nationals (Olympic trails) 11 April Durban

Follow me on instagram: @legs2323, to stay posted as well.


Contact Details Whasp Nutrition

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Facebook Here:

Mobile no: +72 83 334 1935


Further Reading on Hendrik:

Meet the Coaches – Hendrik v d Merwe

Send-Off: IPC World Champs 2015

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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