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Fresh & Hungry – Amber Summer Smith

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Amber Smith is exactly as her name states “a precious jewel” not only our SA swimming arena but also in other areas in life. Just like a beautiful piece of jewelry, she had to go through some tough moments of “fire”, in her swimming career, but she still managed to rise all the way to the top – as true champions do! She says” I am back and I have bigger goals. Stopping swimming was a terrible decision but it motivated me to coming back and working harder than ever before”.

About who she is she says “I would say I am a very dedicated, motivated and hard working person. Many of my qualities I have learnt from my old coaches Mr and Mrs Melton, John Wright, Dominque Donner, Linda De Jager and my current coach Rocco Meiring, my Mom and my swimming teammates. It is because of the amazing people in my life that I strive to give only my best and dream big”. She is also a decicated academic at Crawford College Pretoria.

Athlete: Bio / Stats

Name & Surname Amber Summer Smith
Date of birth 11 June 1999
Place of birth Cape Town
Current City Pretoria
Height 1.57m
Weight 66kg
Shoe Size 7-8
Club Tuks Swimming
Coach’s Name Rocco Meiring
Secondary Sport/ sports Open water swimming
Favorite City Could not pick a favorite, all the city’s in our country are beautiful.
Favorite Song/ type of music All music and all songs by Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, Shaun Mendes and Twenty one pilots.
Favorite Movie I can’t choose a favorite but enjoy watching Disney films and comedies.
School & Grade Crawford College Pretoria, Grade 12
Instagram and Facebook amber_summer_smith
Parents Names, siblings Mother – Tracy-lee Smith

Brothers – Aryn and Kaylan Geekie

INTERVIEW:

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?

I really enjoy swimming and it has become my life! I enjoy the training, the traveling, the people and most of all competing, however swimming did not come easy to me. I started swimming in grade 4 when I was 10 and it was after I swam an inter-house gala that the coaches at my school spoke to my parents and told them that I should start training. I had always loved the water and was always in the pool as a kid but In the beginning I did not like the idea of training so many hours and would often ask my mom not to go but as stubborn and hard working as my mom is she did not allow me to miss any training because she knew that I was made to swim. For this I am forever grateful. As I began swimming more galas meeting more people I was hooked and swimming became my everything. I started to grow and swim better and faster. Everything was going well until 3 years ago I made the decision to stop swimming, my parents got divorced and my mom and I moved up to Pretoria. After 8 months I realized that I need to swim that I missed swimming. As I started training again it was tough, I was 18kg heavier and unfit but I didn’t give up I made sure I attended every training session. It took me 2 years but now I’m on top of my game. I am back and I have bigger goals. Stopping swimming was a terrible decision but it motivated me to coming back and working harder than ever before.

Q: Who are you? Describe yourself as a person.

I would say I am a very dedicated, motivated and hard working person. Many of my qualities I have learnt from my old coaches Mr and Mrs Melton, John Wright, Dominque Donner, Linda De Jager and my current coach Rocco Meiring, my Mom and my swimming teammates. It is because of the amazing people in my life that I strive to give only my best and dream big. My biggest challenge would be Matric because of the demanding work load I need to ensure that I stay focused on my goals

Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in Swimming and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?

I would say that my biggest achievement in swimming was being able to swim at Nationals  and being able to see swimmers from South Africa qualify for Olympics, it was a spectacular experience and although I have not been at the top I have big dreams, though preparation I am willing to work as hard as I need to reach my dreams. I must say my biggest personal accomplishment would defiantly be making the decision to come back into the swimming.

Q: What do you do to relax?

I’m not really one who relaxes, I enjoy being busy all the time. I enjoy traveling and being adventurous. I enjoy cycling, surfing, ice skating, go-karting and riding dirt bikes. I enjoy going out to lunches and dinners with friends, having movie nights and going to music festivals.

Q: In your opinion, what is the value of Education in a young person’s life?

I believe education is very important and it is the foundation on which we build on. Education helps people to understand and connect. I have never been a person who loves school but I have always tried to give my best, with a good education you are aware of what is needed to succeed. This will give you the strength to know that you have the ability to do anything you put your mind too.

Q: So, you are a brilliant swimmer and academic – but name 1 thing that you suck at 🙂

If I would have to say something I would say my weakness is saying no to chocolate!

Q: What is your personal favorite motivational quote?

“If you want to be the best, you have to do things other people aren’t willing to do”- Michael Phelps

Everyday people are finding more ways to get faster and if you are not willing to go the extra mile you won’t be able to keep up with the people who will.

 

Q: In your opinion, how do you define success in life / how do you define a successful person?

Success means different things to different people however everyone knows the extraordinary feeling of success. Success is the outcome of big dreams with no excuses, success is the ability to face challenges and overcome obstacles by making sacrifices.  Success is the result of the hard work. A successful person is someone who never gives up and is always focused and fearless in pursuing their dream.

Q: What’s your WHY ?  Why do you do what you do?

I love swimming. It is a part of my everyday routine, most people don’t understand that training to swimmers is like going to school, you must do it and there are no off days. Swimmers must always look for ways to improve and to do this they must try new things that others are not willing to, with my dream of competing with the best I hope that one day I can inspire younger athletes that by going the extra mile you are not crazy but rather the opposite you are enthusiastic and devoted.

Q: Anything else you would like to share?

Swimming is my life and I one day hope to be a swimming coach, to motivate and inspire other young athletes to reach for their dreams.

 

 

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!

Home Interviews Olympics 2016 Rio Proudly South African Sports Swimming Tuks Swimming

Olympic Hopes: Hendrik van der Merwe

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Contact Details Whasp Nutrition

Please follow them on Social Media:

www.whasp.co.za

Facebook Here:

Mobile no: +72 83 334 1935

Email:

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.

 

Home Interviews Proudly South African Sports Swimming Tuks Swimming

Fresh & Hungry: Faarez Gamieldien

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Faarez Gamieldien is a young swimming star to watch out for, for the future. Currently writing his matric finals we wish him all the very best. Faarez is one who is not shy to hit the grindstone in both academics and sport and this type of dedication and commitment is always rewarded with high levels of success. He is proudly a Cornwall Hill College student. He esteems his selection as part of  Team SA on multiple occasions in the past very highly. Watch as he proves to and inspires our youth that sport and academics can blend with the correct attitude and enough willpower. This is how he describes himself, “I am a very hardworking person who is very determined and persistent when I set a goal for myself. I try to persevere where everyone else has given up. I take every challenge head on, and I also try to take everyone to the top with me. I am a very fun and loving guy, and will stop at nothing to try and cheer someone up. I am always willing to help, and you will always find me with a smile on my face and armed with a silly one line joke”.

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Athlete: Bio / Stats

Name & Surname Faarez Gamieldien
Date of birth 1st December  1997
Place of birth Cape Town
Current City Pretoria
Height 1,79m
Weight 70kg
Shoe Size 10
Club TUKS
Coach’s Name Emile De Bruin
Out of Country events/ meets Junior African Swimming Championships- Nigeria 2011

Junior African Swimming Championships- Zambia 2013

African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region V Under-20 Youth Games- Zimbabwe 2014

Favorite Movie  Guardians of the Galaxy
School & Grade Cornwall Hill College Grade 12
Twitter and Instagram names, facebook name Facebook: Faarez Gamieldien

Instagram: @faarezz

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INTERVIEW:

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?

I first started swimming at the age of nine when I competed in my primary school’s interhouse gala. I came third in the 50m backstroke and cried when I found out I was swimming the 100m individual medley: “It’s four laps mommy!” When I was chosen to swim for the school A-team, I decided to train at a swimming club and that is when my swimming career took off.

Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in swimming and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?

Having the opportunity to represent South Africa on three occasions are definitely my highest achievements in my swimming career so far.

Q: You have traveled outside SA before, what are you highlights of these travels, and what does travelling do for your mindset/ perspective on things?

Travelling outside of South Africa for swimming has definitely given me a better perspective on things. It has exposed me to different racing and living conditions and has definitely prepared me to race under any conditions.

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Q: How do you manage to fit in both sports and academics / work into your schedule?

It all comes down to commitment, I know what has to be done and I just do it.

Q: What do you do to relax?

Listen to music or chill with my friends if I can.

Q: Which athlete/ athletes inspire you?

Michael Phelps and Cameron van der Burgh

Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?

“Make it happen”

“You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pocket”

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

“Don’t let your dreams be dreams”

Q: When you’ve had a tough / bad day, what lifts you up again?

I remind myself that there is no one like me but me, and I have to be the best me I can be.

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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!

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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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