Devon Myles William Brown, is on a roll, on an unstoppable siege as he takes the world by storm at many a local and international Swim Championships. Myles is one, who without much fuss and ado just gets on with the job at hand, and chips away daily as he works towards his dream of Rio Olympics 2016.
In April this year he broke SA’s longest standing swimming record (Ryk’s) when he won the 400m freestyle at the SA National Aquatic Championships in Durban. He is a very talented young man who has had his share of hardship in the swimming arena, but has risen all the way to the top and has just been going from strength to strength. What a lessons and an inspiration this is for our youth!
I admire his wonderful work ethic. He attributes this to his parents who instilled in him some core values like determination and always putting in 100% toward all that he does. This paid off very well when he passed his matric year with 6 distinctions while not slacking on his swimming. A deep thinker with a passion with life, Devon Myles Brown is really one of SA’s golden boys who will go down in our history books as a great and inspirational champion.
You have caused quite a stir and is much admired in SA and globally for your swimming, tell me a little bit about how you started of in swimming and your journey in the swimming arena up to now?
I’ve always been a water baby, from when I was a youngster I was always trying to get into the water, no matter the weather…It was probably when my parents found me at the bottom of the pool, not due to their negligence but my perseverance to get into the water, that they decided it was time I became water safe. And since then I have always enjoyed the water where my passion and love for the sport has been ever growing.
What is the highest accolade you have received in swimming and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?
Probably my Commonwealth bronze medal for the 4x200m freestyle relay, but my greatest personal accomplishment would definitely be breaking Ryk Neethling’s Long and Short course 400m Freestyle national records, especially the one in Durban recently in April. It came at a time when it was most needed for me personally, as I was going through a really difficult stage in my swimming career.
Do you have any specific regimens or rituals in swimming? Maybe a particular diet / training method that can be partially attributed to your success?
I think all swimmers are superstitious with their rituals, but it seems as soon as I find one I swim badly haha… But for me it’s more my routine, and then a couple other small things that I like to do before the race, maybe a lucky pair of underwear haha. With regards to my diet I am not very strict, but I always try eat healthy and I always try my best to give 110% both in the pool and the gym, although Graham might disagree, haha.
You have travelled outside SA many times before, what are you highlights and what does travelling do for your mindset/ perspective on things?
It’s always amazing seeing and trying new things but its not as glamorous as it all sounds. Often we arrive the day before a swim meet and leave sometimes the night we finish so we don’t always get to see the cities we stay in. Although when we do, its great to experience the different cultures and you always learn new things. For sure, experiencing in new places takes a little off the swimming side of things and sometimes gives you something other than swimming to focus on, which is nice. I always learn so much when I travel and I still do learn new things every time.
How do you manage to fit in both sports and academics into your schedule?
It is very tough but can be done, I do struggle a lot trying to fit in academics amongst all my swimming commitments but I am always trying, it is all to do with time management!!!
Beside your swimming what do you have a passion for?
I really enjoy the investments side of business and learning new things. On top of my swimming I always like to be active, so I really enjoy my surfing and golf. The beach is always a great place to just relax both physically and mentally.
Tell me one thing about yourself that the world does not know?
Hahaha, it would probably be that I am very quiet and an introverted person, so often I think people take it as me being upset, in a bad mood or arrogant even, which is not the case I hope…it just means that generally I have a lot on my mind. Its something I’m quite self-conscious about because it can make me seem unapproachable to a lot of people. So I’m sorry if I seem that way haha!
What do you do to relax?
Take naps haha, its always great chilling around the pool or the beach with some friends or even playing a round of golf with my dad!
Which athlete/ athletes inspire you?
Definitely Roger Federer, he is so talented on and off the court, well mannered and dresses very well! Muhammad Ali, for his mental power that he had over his opponents! And obviously Michael Phelps and Grant Hackett for how they changed the sport of swimming!
What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
There are always so many but the one that really stands out this past year or so has been, “The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens…don’t give up”
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Life is too short to worry about the silly things in life; always do what you love and you will be happy. If something goes wrong you’re only allowed 5 minutes to be upset then its over and forgotten. Never do anything halfheartedly, always give of your best and never give up on your dreams no matter how big or small they appear to be.
Living away from home / travelling extensively is a sacrifice, in this situation, what does it feel like? / what grounds you/ what becomes your touchstone to remind you that the sacrifice is worth it?
Travelling is very tough but it needs to be done especially for racing. We need to race the best in the world. In the end if you want to win medals at big competitions you have to beat the best and what better way to do that than to continuously race them and learn from your losses. I am so blessed to have an amazingly supportive family, girlfriend and group of friends, who are always in my corner and really want me to achieve my dreams. So it is always really helpful having people around you that want you to succeed and are on the same mission as you. This is also what makes Seagulls Swimming Club so great! But in the end, you cannot do this for anyone else but yourself, otherwise the pressures will crush you. If you know in your heart that you are giving your best and making the sacrifices to achieve your goals and dreams, then one day it will all be worth it. For me, it has been my childhood dream to compete against the best at the Olympic Games!!
What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
Probably the mental side of sports… they say in training its 90% physical and 10% mental, and when you race its 90% mental and 10% physical which I think is so true. So this has been a major challenge for me but I continue to work on it and try improve all the time.
When an athlete hits some “hard / difficult patch” in their sports career, what goes through your mind at that time? What advice can you give other young athletes in this regard?
It always seems like you hit more difficult patches than anyone else ever has but everyone goes through them, and no one goes through them at the same time. It is almost a guarantee that you will experience this at least once or twice in your swimming career and it really sucks to be honest – haha but its not about how many times you can get hit but how many times you can keep getting hit and still get back up. Fall down 7 times get up 8!! Always do what makes you happy and if you have a passion for that sport and love it, it will make those difficult patches a lot easier to handle. Just keep pushing on and don’t give up because pain is temporary but quitting lasts forever!
When you’ve had a tough / bad day, what lifts you up again?
Music always helps and also trying new things is always fun. Try forgetting about it because you cannot change what has happened in the past, do something that gets your mind off of things!
I’m sure you have many things going on right now, what’s to be expected next from you?
I try not to think about that kind of stuff, just trying to take it one step at a time!
Anything else you would like to share?
My name is Devon Myles William Brown, but most people know me as Myles. The reason for this is that it is a family tradition that the first-born son of each generation is called by their second name as well as taking the name William. So my first name is Devon but everyone calls my Myles, which sometimes causes a lot of confusion, haha.
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!
Thank you so much for this opportunity and I really appreciate those kind words!!!
|Athlete: Bio / Stats|
|Name & Surname||Myles Brown|
|Date of birth||21 May 1992|
|Place of birth||Westville, Durban|
|Current City||Kloof, Durban|
|Club||Seagulls Swimming Club|
|Coach’s Name||Graham Hill and Delon Dannhauser|
|Out of Country events/ meets||Tri-Nations Series( Perth-Australia); Mare Nostrum Series 2011-2015(Barcelona, Canet France, Monaco); All Africa Games 2010(Morocco), 2012(Kenya); World Championships LC 2013(Barcelona), 2015(Kazan, Russia); World Championships SC 2012(Istanbul, Turkey), 2014(Doha, Qatar); Commonwealth Games 2014(Glasgow, Scotland); World Cup Series (Dubai, Doha, Eindhoven-Netherlends, Berlin, Moscow, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo) 2013,2014|
|Secondary Sport/ sports||Golf, Water skiing, and Surfing|
|Favorite Song/ type of music||I enjoy a very wide variety of music but right now I’m really enjoying a genre called Future Garage (very relaxed haha)|
|Favorite Movie||This is always so tough, between Troy, most comic movies (Avengers, Ironman, Batman etc)|
|School & Grade||Highbury Preparatory School, Kearsney College|
|Tertiary Inst Name & Year||Damelin Correspondence College|
|Tertiary degree/ diploma||Commercial Law|
|Sponsors||Arena International, Sanlam|