Rising Gqeberha born swimmer, Khwezi Jacobs will be flying the South African flag high at the XIV CANA African Junior and Senior Swimming Championships, which takes place from 11-17 October 2021 in Ghana.
The 14-year-old is steadily making a name for herself after breaking onto the swimming scenes at the age of 11 when she qualified for the SA Junior National competition. At the competition she earned her first gold medal in the 100m butterfly.
Earlier this year, the grade 8 learner swam an SA senior qualifying time at the Junior Nationals and became eligible to participate at the last leg of the SA Grand Prix series, which was held in Durban.
At her age, Jacobs is already competing in the big league as she swims with the Senior Open age group.
When it comes to support, Jacobs needs to look no further than her mom, Thami, who put out a call on South African fundraising site, Back a Buddy, and the public have been generously contributing.
Khwezi speaks to gsport about her upcoming swimming event, her journey so far and her ambitions going forward.
Khwezi, thank you for taking time to speak to us. Can you please tell us about yourself and how you get involved in swimming ?
My name is Khwezi Jacobs and I am 14-years-old.
I started swimming at a very young age. I don’t really know the exact age, but I know I was very young and from there onwards I never stopped. I just kept on swimming.
What do you enjoy most about swimming?
I enjoy the team aspect, having fun with my friends and I enjoy the competitive aspect as well, to try and push yourself as far as you can.
Which distances do you compete in ?
I compete in both breaststroke and freestyle.
Who do you look up to?
I look up to Tatjana Schoenmaker, she is one of the only South Africans who got a gold medal in swimming at the Olympics, after a long time.
What has been your biggest achievement to date in your swimming career?
Being picked for the XIV CANA (African Junior and Senior Swimming Championships) going to Ghana in two weeks’ time, has been my biggest achievement so far.
You must be chuffed to be going to Ghana!
I am very excited. There’s also a little bit of nervousness, but good nerves.
What are you expecting from the competition?
I am excepting good competition and to learn from the senior swimmers. I am also looking to improve in my swimming and do the best that I can.
How are your preparations going for the competition ?
My preparations are going really well. They were a little bit slowed down because I had a shoulder injury, but now I am back on track so I am very excited.
Where do you think you can improve in terms of you swimming ?
I think in everything because there is always room for improvement. So I can improve in my technics and in everything else.
In 2018, at the age of 11 you qualified for the SA Junior National Competition, how was that experience.
I was very excited because I was the youngest person at the competition. I was very nervous and happy.
That experience helped me with competing against older people and it also helped me to experience big crowds.
Was there some pressure going into the competition because of your age?
Not really, no.
You are also a learner currently doing grade 8, how do you balance swimming and school work?
I think my school has made it very easy for us. We have a schedule for swimming, we have practices in the morning and in the afternoon. It doesn’t interfere with any school academic activities.
Then during the day we do academic staff, so it’s not as difficult for me.
Where would you like to see yourself in the next five years in terms of your swimming ?
I would like to see myself going on to bigger and better things. I just want to continue with swimming for as long as I enjoy the sport and make new friends.
Hopefully I’ll get gold medals along the way.
We are sure you would also love to compete in the Olympics one day.
Yes, one day. Those are my future plans. If the opportunity arises then I would take it with both hands.
Photo 1 Caption: Rising Gqeberha born swimmer, Khwezi Jacobs will be flying the South African flag high at the XIV CANA African Junior and Senior Swimming Championships, which takes place from 11-17 October 2021 in Ghana. Photo: Supplied