Memoirs of a Swimmer’s Mom: Carissa van Rooyen

Liezel van Rooyen has become such a voice of reason and inspiration for me as I follow the journey of her young athlete daughter Carissa van Rooyen. She speaks from the heart about the realities of a young adolescent girl in swimming, the challenges and the deep faith and hope for the journey ahead. This type of realistic yet hopeful balance mixed with light hearted fun, is what will see Carissa all the way to the top and realise her dreams for the future. Mothers are the quiet in the storm, the moral grounding, the ever helping hands, eyes, ears and hearts behind the success of all our athletes. Thank you Liezel for permissions to share your journey and aspirations to encourage many others on their own path, in this tough yet beautiful sport of swimming. Heslop Sports not only celebrates young athletes, but their mommy’s too :-)!

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It is day 5 at SA Nationals and the finals is due to start at 18:30. It is our (Carissa van Rooyen and myself) 1st Nationals. Today was Carissa’s 2nd event, the 100m freestyle and she managed to take of 1/2 second from her PB this morning. She is still feeling the strain in her legs and arms from the 100m backstroke events (x 3) she swam on Monday and Tuesday. She would have liked to have done better today but we are both ecstatic about todays achievement and grateful to be here. During lunch we discussed the previous 2 years challenges we faced, and there were many. We also reflected on her swimming achievements which included NO movement in many of her swimming times as puberty arrived and we realise that she may hit another wall or two during her swimming career. We agreed that all the time, energy and sacrifices incurred were worth all the pain, suffering and joy this sport introduced into our lives. No amount of money can account for this and this in its own is priceless!

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Final day done at SA Nationals and Olympic Trials 2016. Well done to Carissa van Rooyen, who is coming home with the following after your first SA Nationals:
Elite Youth Bronze Medal and 4th over all place in Finals for the 100m back with a PB time.
200m back stroke 11th place.
50m back stroke – Gold and SA National Champion 2016 with a PB time.
Silver medal for the CGA Woman A team in the 4 X 100m Medley Relay,
and most importantly, you are coming back even more humble, focused and determined to succeed with a great new wealth of experience.

Thank you coach Dean Price!!!

The greatest inspiring moments for us though may lie in the greatest disappointments experienced during the gala. What an amazing experience. Good luck to our Olympic Qualifiers in RIO and best of luck for the swimmers who will come back and try again on 2020!

Carissa van Rooyen‘s initiation as a newbie (or freshie) at SA National Aquatics Championship and Olympic Trials…She had to propose to Jordon le Clos. He said yes! I need to undo this before a date is set.

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