Ashley-Cooper, along with her coach, Cedric Finch (who is also head coach of the UWC Aquatics Club), is part of the Team South Africa swimming squad, which comprises of 25 of the best swimmers and coaches from around the country. She was selected into the team after her stellar performance at this year South African National Aquatic Championships that were held in Durban in April this year.
At the event Ashley-Cooper, who has been a member of the UWC Aquatics Club for over two years, won no less than four medals. She won gold in the 50m backstroke race, and came second in the 50m freestyle, 50 butterfly and 100m backstroke races, and was placed in the top three in the overall competition.
In the Commonwealth Games, which concludes on Sunday, 3 August, Ashley-Cooper will take part the in the 100m Backstroke and the 4x100m Medley Relay, and is aiming for a gold medal.
“To compete in the Commonwealth Games, to rub shoulders with some of the top swimmers in the world and to hopefully learn from them will be a great experience,” says Ashley-Cooper before her departure. “I will try my best to come home with a medal or two.”
Glen Bentley, UWC sports administrator for swimming, congratulated the two and said: “The exposure and experienced gained from this competition will set her up for future international competitions, i.e FINA World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.”
ATHLETE FACTS Jessica Ashley-Cooper
Full name: Jessica Ashley-Cooper
Born: 21/5/1992 in Port Elizabeth
High School: Rustenburg Girls' High School (Matric 2010)
Tertiary Education: University of Arizona (2011), Varsity College (2012-)
Specialisation: Backstroke / Butterfly
Honours: Team South Africa (2010 African Swimming Championships, 2011 World University Games, 2012-13 FINA World Swimming Championships, 2014 Commonwealth Games), African champion (4x200m Freestyle Relay, 2010), SA Champion (50m Backstroke, 2012-14; 200m Backstroke, 2012)