TAYLA Botha, 15, has been selected to represent South Africa in open water swimming at the Len Cup, part of the European National League taking place in Rome.
The Clarendon High pupil and Aqua Nova Aquatics Club swimmer leaves for Europe on September 13.
This hardworking young lady is no one-trick pony though, and being the first Border swimmer to represent SA in this discipline is by far not her only achievement.
Botha made her mark at the South African Open Water Championships in Jeffreys Bay last March when she showed true grit and determination, fighting off a number of more experienced swimmers, earning herself a third place in the 15-16 age group despite being the youngest competitor in the 5km race.
When asked what this selection means to her, Botha said: “I feel privileged to have been selected for the team. It’s a lovely reward for all my years of hard training.
“I, of course, will go there and try my very best. I see this event as a great opportunity to learn from and gain experience. I thank my coach Lyn Shone for all the motivation and her faith in me and I would also like to thank my family for all their love and support,” she said.
In addition to swimming, Botha excels at cross country running, having already represented SA at the World Biathle Champs in Dubai at the tender age of 10 in 2012 and subsequently been selected for the South African biathle team three times in a row from 2014 to 2016.
Also a top swimmer in the pool, Botha has represented her club at SA Junior National championships, as well as SA Youth champs in Durban this year where she made the finals for both the 400m individual medley and the 800m freestyle.
In the very busy mix of life, Botha is also in the top academic group.
As per her coach, Shone: “Tayla has been swimming with me from the age of 10. She is great to coach as she is very self-motivated and coachable, a tribute to her parents.
“Aquanova wishes Tayla the best of luck in this venture. ‘Do your very best and soak up the experience for all your future endeavours. We are all proud of you, Tayla’.”
Should anyone be interested in trying out open water swimming, contact Tayla’s coach, Shone, (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The new open water swimming season commences on October 15 in EP (venue to be announced), distances range between 500m, 1km, 3km, 5km and 10km. Available to able-bodied, as well as disabled swimmers, age-group swimmers, starting from 12 years of age, right through to Masters swimmers.