Swimming prodigy goes for gold

2018-12-12 06:01
PHOTO: sUPPLIEDSwimmer Monica Botha.

PHOTO: sUPPLIEDSwimmer Monica Botha.

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KIND, committed, and competitive, is how swimming prodigy Monica Botha (11), who is also known as Mica, describes herself.

Monica, who hails from Kingsburgh, was recently named a 2019 SA National Junior Championships qualifier in 100m, 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke. The championships will take place in March 2019.

While enjoying regular activities suitable to an eleven-year-old, Monica also uses her amazing swimming ability to make a difference in the world.

She said: “I volunteer to create awareness for childhood cancer. Every year during September, we make gold ribbons for the swimmers to wear at KZN Junior Champs in support of Gold in September, an international childhood cancer non-profit. Gold in September raises funds to support researchers working to find a cure for childhood cancer.”

Speaking on her life as a swimmer, Monica said: “I live a very healthy lifestyle as a swimmer. In order to compete for five days and sometimes swim 26 events (heats and finals) in total as well as relays, it is of utmost importance to eat right, train right and sleep or rest enough to build up the energy to last the whole swim meet.”

Monica trains at the Aqua Lifestyle Centre (ALC), where she was recently named as brand ambassador: “It is this lifestyle that I have in common with Aqua Lifestyle Centre,” added the swimmer.

Some of the achievements held by Monica include the Top female KZN Junior swimmer title since 2015, as well her recent qualifications for the National Junior Championships 2019. Her achievements are one of the reasons why she was asked to become the ALC’s first brand ambassador.

Prior to training at ALC, Monica used to train on her own at a gym in Amanzimtoti, but thereafter joined the Aqua Swimming Academy’s training sway in May 2018.

Speaking on being a brand ambassador, Monica said: “Being a brand ambassador means that I embody the brand that I endorse. It is a leadership role and gives me responsibility. As a home-schooled pupil, I do not have the opportunity to become a leader in a school. However, being a brand ambassador gives me the real-life experience to represent a business and it teaches me how to be a leader.”

Speaking on why they chose Monica to be their ambassador, ALC’s owner and head coach Nicki Franken said: “Monica’s swimming achievements, her humble approach and willingness to help everybody during training, at galas and on a daily basis, made her the logical choice to represent our brand.

“We are still building the brand and it is appropriate at this point in time to name a brand ambassador for ALC.

“This will help us grow from a junior swim club to one of the clubs that represents the South Coast with pride and put our swimmers on the map.”

Speaking on her future, Monica stated that she would like to become a competitive swimmer and attempt the European Circuit, such as Mare Nastrum, and even the World Cup.

“That should give me enough experience to try to qualify for the Olympics one day — the qualifying times are very fast and it will take a lot of work to become that fast and strong. I do believe that anything is possible through hard work and commitment. My career dream is to become a veterinarian,” elaborated Monica.

In addition to swimming, Monica plays the piano and is an avid online gamer, where she plays with her best friend. “We also jay board around our houses and swim in our home pools for fun. Nowadays there is not much time for anything else in the day, other than school and training. We also go for a swim at our local beach when we have time and are not busy over the weekends,” added Monica.

Some of the people Monica looks up to include Michelle Weber and Erin Gallagher, whom she exclaims are her local heroes: “They are always kind and supportive to us junior swimmers. Internationally I admire Katie Ledecky, and Sarah Sjöström,” said Monica.

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