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Joey Carollissen UWC's Star Swimmer

UWC swimmer going places

UWC swimming sensation Joey Carollissen jetted off to Uganda this week to participate in the Confederation of African National Amateur Zone Three and Four Invitational Swimming Championships 2014.

The 12-year-old Carollissen, a Grade 7 pupil at Saffier Primary School in Parow, is part of the 27 member strong swimming South Africa team that will compete in the championships which took place from 24 to 27 April in Kampala. She is one of the five swimmers in the 12 and under category.

Carollissen, who joined the UWC Aquatics Club two years ago, made the team after she came second and third in the 400m freestyle and 100m freestyle, respectively, and is ranked top in her age group in the Western Province for the 1500m freestyle, based onWestern Province Regional Age Group Championships that were held in Oudtshoorn in March this year.

Before her departure, Carollissen commented that it was the first time for her to don the national colours, saying: “I felt good but nervous”. Her goal, she adds, is to win a gold medal and she has been putting in the extra training, including going to the gym, to prepare herself for the event and the attainment of her goal.

As a big fan of the American four-time Olympic gold medallist, Melissa Jeanette Franklin, who currently holds the world record in the 200m backstroke, Carollissen has a word for those who are loyal to the sport.

“It’s a hard sport, but if you keep on going you can go places,” she says, thanking her parents, the UWC management and her teammates for their support.

Her mother Heidi Carollissen says as parents they are very proud of what their daughter has achieved, who, they say is hardworking and committed in both her school work and swimming.

“She sets herself goals and will always give 100% to achieve those goals,” the mother explains.

“It is not easy for a 12 year old to wake up at 4am in the morning and be on the pool deck at 5am for a two-hour training session three days a week. Then off to school and back in the pool at 4pm for another two hours five days a week. But she takes it all in her stride.

“When your child shows such commitment, as parents you take pride in supporting her. Her dream was to represent her country in the sport that she so passionately loves and that dream has been fulfilled at the tender age of 12.”

Glen Bently, UWC sports administrator for swimming, commented that Joey's inclusion in the National Team at this young age is an indication that the University’s swimming programmes are effective. “This amazing achievement will inspire a lot of young swimmers to work even harder to achieve their goals,” he says.