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Fresh & Hungry: Jonathan Horn

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Jonathan Horn, a grade 11 learner at Boys High is a dedicated and brilliant swimmer, a true young leader, with such a loyal heart towards all that he touches. As a little swimmer in grade 3 when he could not swim well at all, answered the coach who asked if he was ready with a confident “I was born ready”, and ended up taking 3rd place! This is exactly how on point he lives is life, in the moment, ready to seize the moment and make a difference where he is.


He says “ I am diligent and hardworking, I try my best to do everything I do to my best ability. I enjoy going out with my friends, I have very strong personal values and I believe in myself with everything I do, I believe self-confidence is the key to a happy life. I like to think that with living a life like mine and any athletes a bit of relaxation is important but there is a very fine line between relaxing and procrastinating. In the future I would like to procrastinate less and do a bit more studying when I can, I want to keep swimming and I want to peruse a happy life and never stop working hard.



Athlete: Bio / Stats

Name & Surname Jonathan Horn
Nick Name At school, I am known as Lucky Star or Horn but everywhere else it’s just Jonathan or Jono
Date of birth 3 July 2000
Place of birth Pretoria
Current City Pretoria
Height 1.74m
Weight 70kg
Shoe Size 9
Coach’s Name Keenan Riffle
Out of Country events/ meets NTS Mozambique 2016
Secondary Sport/ sports Indoor soccer and occasionally cross-country
Favorite City Cape Town
Favorite Song/ type of music My favorite song is Harry Potter by the whistles and the bells , and my favorite type of music is very relaxed music
Favorite Movie Guardians of the galaxy
School & Grade Pretoria Boys High School , grade 11
Instagram I only have Instagram, jonathan_horn21
Web site N/A
Community / church projects involved in Currently I am not involved in a church, but I help out where ever I see help is needed .
Parents Names, siblings Mom –Rae     Father – Michael

Brother – Brandon


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?

My journey actually started before I knew it in grade 3 when I could not swim at all (my mom says I looked like a cockroach) and I swam in the D- league gala for Irene primary school. As I stood behind the block for my one race, the 50m butterfly, my coach asked me if I was ready knowing that I could not swim very well, and I answered, I was born ready, and I ended up coming 3rd in that race. That woke up some competitive spirit in me, because since then I’ve always had a desire to be the best in everything I do. In that moment, my journey started and I never even realized it. Then later in my life I started at Pretoria Boys High School, this school changed my life in every way possible, it gave me friends, amazing teachers and a home.

In grade 8 the only thing I wanted was to wear the red full colors sport blazer but at the time I was not particularly good at any sport, but I wanted that blazer so I started playing water polo. I was constantly being kicked out of the A team and then brought back up. As a young boy this was emotional because I’ve always wanted to be the best, and so to be the best I started swimming. Through swimming I found myself , I learnt discipline and what it meant to be an athlete and I fell in love with the sport so much so that I ended up stopping water polo which was the reason I started swimming. At first no one at school understood why I did what I did because at my school being in the First team for a sport is about the biggest thing that can happen to someone. To be honest I don’t know why I did what I did either, but I suppose something inside me told me that swimming was the right thing for me.  Then earlier this year I got my red blazer and it means more to me than anyone can realize, to me it represents countless hours of hard work and all the tears and bloodshed that I have gone through. I know that I am not the best but I’m working on that, will I ever get to Olympics ? Who knows? and if I don’t , that’s ok to because this journey and this sport has taught me more than 12 years of school or any lesson. Swimming has truly changed my life.

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

I like to thing I am a nice guy, I am usually open to change depending on the situation. I am diligent and hardworking. I try my best to do everything I do to my best ability. I enjoy going out with my friends, I have very strong personal values and I believe in myself with everything I do. I believe self-confidence is the key to a happy life. At the moment I see the glass as half full, but like everyone  I have my days that I feel down and depressed but I’m human and that happens. I like to think that with living a life like mine and any athletes a bit of relaxation is important but there is a very fine line between relaxing and procrastinating. In the future I would like to procrastinate less and do a bit more studying when I can. I want to keep swimming and I want to peruse a happy life and never stop working hard.

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

I have only been swimming for about two years now but I think I have achieved quite a lot in this short time. My biggest achievements include winning 10 gold medals at the 2015 Mayoral Gala, this is not a big achievement, but personally it meant a lot. I have also come 3rd for the 100m butterfly at the 2016 NTS invitational gala. Furthermore I was invited to the 2016 NTS Mozambique gala where I came 1st for the 100m freestyle and for the 50m butterfly and I came 2nd for the 100m butterfly and 3rd for the 200m IM. I was also fortunate enough to attend the 2017 SA Schools Championship as part of team Gauteng where I came 5th for the 50m and 100m butterfly. My biggest achievement would be my selection to the SA Schools team.

Q: Would you like to share a little bit more about your faith journey and how it has affected your life / sports?

I am Christian, but I do not attend church, I do believe that my talent and my gifts came from the man above. I have only encountered one situation where my faith came to test in my journey. This year (2017) I had trained twice a day through the December holidays all for one goal, which was to qualify for the junior nationals gala and all I had to do was drop 0.38s and then in February I swam the race and I had never felt more confident in myself . But then I added 3seconds. I was devastated and I started to question if there really was someone looking out for me.

But after a long time I’ve realized that everything happens for a reason even if the reason is never clear, one day it will become clear, and if it never becomes clear you just need to know there is a plan for you. In that experience that I had I think the reason for it happening was to teach me that no matter how hard you train or how ready you are things happen. You can’t always break yourself down after a bad race, and since then I’ve had a more light hearted approach to my races and I’ve been improving more than I could have imagined.

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

We all know that an education is the most important part of a child’s development, this is a lesson that has hit me hard in the last two years as I am on my way out of school and on to university. The sad reality of life is that only about 3% of athletes actually make a living off of their sport and so it is extremely important to have a plan B for if sport does not work out. You don’t need to be the top academic in your grade to be happy with your results, if you studied for 100% and only got 60% its ok because you gave it your all, but the biggest thing is not to be disappointed in yourself . In today’s world children are almost scared or actually terrified of failing because everyone tells them that if they fail or don’t get 80% for every test they will have a horrible life. And that’s not true, every person on this world has a talent and only a small amount of people have a talent for doing well at school.

It is important to study hard and do well. But it’s not everything in life. I for one have learnt more about people and life from two years of swimming than 11 years of school has taught me. I do believe that education plays a vital role in a young person’s life, but I also believe that school will be a lot easier and there will be a lot less pressure on children (especially in the higher grades) if they were taught to be happy with their academic abilities because we’re all different and we’re not all A+ students .

Q: So you swim well and are doing well in academics but name 1 thing that you suck at J

Singing, I love music and I wish I could play a musical instrument or even sing but I’m really terrible at it. I’ve tried once or twice to start singing to the words of a song when it comes on the radio but I should leave that to the professionals because I think I’m tone deaf. I even got a guitar for my birthday one year but I think the noises coming from my room were just so horrible my parents took it away.

Q: What is your favourite meal and who must cook it?

Macaroni and Cheese, my mom must cook it.

 Q: Besides your Swimming, what do you have a passion for?

I have a strong passion for my school. I think I owe a lot of who I am to my school, it is really a special place. It took me in when I was a 13-year-old boy and I was very timid and shy and I found it hard to make friends. But I was taught how to stand up for myself and be more self-confident which has helped me a lot in life.

I am also starting a YouTube channel soon which will be about my life as a swimmer and a student at Pretoria Boys High School. I am hoping it will just be a fun hobby to take my mind off of swimming and school.

Q: How do you currently manage to balance all the things in your life?

Currently I am only able to balance everything because I am very diligent about my time and my time management is quite good. But the one thing that really helps me balance my life is my mom. My mom is my rock, whenever I feel like I can’t handle my life anymore, she is my shoulder to cry on, she is always there when I need to go to training and she will never say no when I ask her for something. I honestly don’t think I could have had a better mother, she is truly a blessing to me.

Q: What is your definition of success?

My definition of success is not the amount of medals won or records broken, to me true success is happiness and a feeling of self-fulfillment. When I get out of the pool on a Sunday I feel like I am a success because I am happy that I completed another week of training. When an Olympic champion wins a gold medal they are not happy because they won the medal, they are happy because all the hours of training have paid off and they have a feeling of self-fulfillment. To me a true champion is the person who can get up after every bad race, be happy with something from the race even if it’s something small that no one else noticed, like one extra underwater kick . That person is a success because they are happy when everyone else would be disappointed.

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

My WHY is everyone who believes in me, everyone who doesn’t believe in me and everyone who doesn’t know me. To those who believe in me, I do what I do because I know they want me to succeed and do well in life. For those who don’t believe in me, I do what I do to prove to them that you can never underestimate someone just because they are different. To those who don’t know me, I do what I do so that one day I will hopefully be a positive role model to children and let them see that you don’t need to be the best to succeed in your own way .

If I can set an example to children or leave a legacy behind me I would like people to know that it’s never too late to start something and being the best is not everything in life. If you’re not the top athlete that’s fine, just don’t stop training. If you’re not the top academic in your grade, that’s ok, just don’t stop studying. If you work for what you want and you work harder than everyone else, then maybe just maybe one day things will work out.

Q: Anything else you would like to share?

I just want to say that my mindset in life is this, this week I do what I could not do last week so that next week I can do what I could not do this week. What that means to me is that I must never stop working and I must never stop improving because one day it will pay off.

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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