Westville Boys’ High swimming ace poised for an exciting career

2014-02-11 00:00

A STRAPPING lad, Daniel Ronaldson has chosen swimming as his main sporting focus, much to the disappointment of many a rugby coach who could imagine him as a gangly lock or flank in their team.

There’s no doubt in his mind that swimming is the way to go and he concentrates on that discipline throughout the year, having been a water baby for as long as he can remember.

His swimming career is beginning to make more than just a ripple in the pool, as he has recently returned from Perth, Australia, where he swam in the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series as a member of the senior South African men’s team.

“This was my first international gala and first time overseas,” said Daniel. “It was a learning experience for me competing against the best in the world at senior level.”

A butterfly and freestyle exponent, Daniel competed in the 200 m butterfly with former Westville Boys’ High swimming legend Chad le Clos.

“I came ninth, but for me just being there and being able to share the pool with some of world swimming’s big names was what counted,” he said.

“I also swam in the open water 1,25 km swim where I came second, but competing in the pool is more my thing. It’s healthy to try different things though.”

Daniel has his provincial colours for swimming in various age groups and swimming in Australia was the first time he had represented South Africa.

“It’s an experience hard to describe. To suddenly realise the massive step from competing at schoolboy and national level to representing your country — it makes you realise you are making big strides in your chosen sport,” he said.

Daniel has been a member of Westville Swimming Club since 2007 and is inspired by his coach, Petro Nortje, herself a South African swimmer in her day.

“She is my role model and the reason I put so much into my swimming,” said Daniel.

“It’s thanks to her support, encouragement and belief in me that I have achieved what I have in the pool.”

As with any sport, nothing comes easy. An average week sees him training up to 11 sessions in the pool, which includes a morning and afternoon session at least three times a week.

“It’s hard work and tough to balance with school work. My teachers understand that swimming will eat into some of my studies and are very accommodating in helping me catch up,” he said.

Despite his first taste of swimming overseas, Daniel is a home boy, enjoying South Africa and keen to see swimming progress in his own country.

“For the time being, I will concentrate on representing my school at various galas and from there, possibly gain more international experience,” he said.

“As for next year, I will stay in South Africa, continue swimming and look at coaching, bringing new swimmers through.

“As far as studying, that depends where my swimming takes me. Swimming is a big sacrifice, but it’s all worth it.”

Name: Daniel Ronaldson

School: Westville Boys’ High

Age: 17

Grade: 12

Sport: Swimming

Achievements: Swimming Honours; SA team to Australia (2014)

Ronaldson at a glance

Played waterpolo in Grades 8 and 9

Enjoys soccer and is a Chelsea supporter

Doesn’t read much

Likes movies - action and good thrillers

Enjoys music and listens to whatever is the craze

Is an egg and bacon master

Enjoys cereal, pizza and pasta

Hopes to make the 2016 Olympic squad and this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Advice to others

Sacrifice is worth it, along with hard work and focus. Believe in your coach and put in the extra yards.

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