Minke Janse van Rensburg, a 14-year-old girl from George who suffers from Down syndrome, has been flying the South African flag high with her swimming talent. In 2018 Minke was nominated for the Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability award and ultimately became a finalist in the Newcomer of the Year award at the South African Sport Awards hosted by the department of sport and recreation.The teen, who attends Carpe Diem School for students with special intellectual and physical needs, started swimming competitively in early 2017 after her coach, Sybeth Hughes, noticed her love for competing. Minke travelled all the way to Canada without her parents in July this year to represent her country at the 9th Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships, setting a new junior Down syndrome world record in the 50m short course freestyle.Her family are extremely proud of her achievements, no more so than her parents, Aletta and Hennie Janse van Rensburg, who encourage their daughter to pursue her interests.“Minke is a member of Fish Eagles Aquatics swimming club and trains with the squad Mondays to Fridays for about 90 minutes a day,” dad Hennie (51) said.“Her biggest achievements have been her three junior world records and silver and bronze medals at the Down Syndrome World Championship in Canada,” he added.While unable to read or write, Minke relishes her cooking classes at school and also loves playing hockey, where she enjoys being part of a team.Minke has broken numerous SA swimming records and also competes against able-bodied swimmers and participants much older than her. “Sometimes I have mixed feelings when she competes against the better abled swimmers and finishes last, but then I just remind myself how she performs against other Down syndrome swimmers,” Hennie said.Hennie, a property rental agent, emphasises that Minke swims because of her pure enjoyment of the sport. “She’s extremely competitive when she races. The coach’s approach is that she must get fitter and faster while having fun with her training squad,” he said.“We hope she’ll continue improving her times until the next Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships in 2020 at Turkey,” he concluded.