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Swembad 19 Januarie 2011 001 Medium

Swimming for South Africa

By Tshego Mashile

Swimming, swimming and more swimming for Megan de Wet and Reece Zowitsky.
On the 28th of May 2018 Megan de Wet and Reece Zowitsky were chosen by Swim South Africa to be representatives for the South African Junior Youth Squad for swimming. There was a whole criteria and process that these two gifted individuals underwent to be chosen for the team.
Swimming is not a sport that you take for granted - it requires a lot of time, sacrifice, discipline and passion for the sport. The good thing about swimming is that you do not have to start at an early age, but if you love it and are committed to it, then you can still excel.
Megan began her swimming journey at the age of 12. She had previously played netball and did a bit of athletics, but she quickly discovered her passion for the disciplined sport. Megan stated: “I wanted to become involved in a more disciplined sport, where my biggest competition would be myself. I thought it would challenge me more as an individual. Plus, water has always had a calming effect on me.”
Whereas Reece started swimming at the age of 8, he participated in rugby but quickly realised that he was not good at the sport. He states: “Swimming takes a lot of time, so eventually swimming just dominated.”
This just proves that you don’t need to start swimming at the age of two - you just need to prioritise it. That is why these two individual swimmers train three hours a day, one hour in the morning on Mondays to Fridays and two hours in the afternoon Monday to Saturday.
Their coach, Chad Peterson, makes them train so hard so that they are well prepared for gala’s. They swim at least 5 to 6 km in one session at the Virgin Active Gym. In the week they do about 9 to 10 swimming sessions.
It is important for them to manage a well-balanced diet containing high amounts of protein, vegetables and carbohydrates and milk as a good source of calcium. This diet is essential for the energy they need.
Who inspires you to swim?
Megan: Penny Heyns inspires me. I met her at a workshop and she helped me realise that the journey won’t be easy but hard work pays off.
Reece: At the moment it is Michael Phelps. I suppose he inspires many young swimmers. He is someone I look up to.
Is there anything you do before competitions to prepare yourself?
Megan: We train before competitions. I also pray for God to help me do my absolute best. Visualizing my races and listening to music helps me and keeps me calm.
Reece: Before a gala, I try to be as relaxed as possible. I try to visualize my race before I start. I need to be 100% focused once I step on the starting blocks. Most importantly, I enjoy what I do.
What sacrifice did you have to make to be where you are today?
Megan: Committing to something means prioritizing it, meaning it comes before school work sometimes, before sleep and before social events. It means having to train for two hours before going to a friend’s house on a Friday and sometimes not even being able to visit a friend because you have to train. It means getting up at 4 in the morning even during winter to get in the pool and then going to school for another 6 hours. It’s a big sacrifice but it is worth it.
Reece: I mainly sacrifice spending time with my friends. I don’t have holidays off because there are often races and I must train. Staying up until late is not a wise choice because it means that early morning training is out. My family also sacrificed a lot of relaxing time to accommodate my swimming.