Young eleven-year-old Monica Botha means business in the pool. On 23 June 2018 Botha swam her first SA National Junior (SANJ) qualifying time at the Umgungundlovu Age group 2 gala, held at the J.C. Joliffe 25-meter pool in Pietermaritzburg. She aced the 200-meters freestyle with a split second under the 2:21:09 qualifying time in 2:21:08, earning her a first SANJ time.
This is just the beginning of her early season achievements.
On 10-14 July 2018, 583 Swimmers from all South African provinces meet at Kings Park Swimming Pool for the annual Prestige Championships hosted by Seals swimming club. This gala is popular as it is the first major swimming gala every year and swimmers that train at altitude benefit from competition at sea level leading to a high contingent attending this Championships.
Monica enters for the following events despite her age.
- 12 & Under – 200 LCM freestyle
- 11-12-year old – 50 and 100 meters freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and 200 individual medley
- 14 & Under – 200 LCM Backstroke and breaststroke
- Women Open – 400 LCM freestyle
She swims a total of 22 heats and finals over 5 days. Monica swims 16 personal best times across the 4 swimming strokes including the 200-meter individual medley and the long distance 400 m freestyle.
Being one of the youngest swimmers on the blocks in the 11-12-year-old finals does not deter this swimmer.
Botha’s brave efforts secure bronze medals in the 50 and 100-meters long course freestyle events. She broke through the 31-second barrier in the 50-meters freestyle in a time of 30,40 seconds. In the 100-meters Freestyle, she touched on an SA National Junior (SANJ) qualifying time of 1:06:64. (SANJ qualifying times for the 100-meters freestyle is 1:06:49).
“We did not expect the breakthrough in the 50 and 100-meters freestyle. We anticipated a potential SANJ qualifying time in the 200-meters freestyle due to the SANJ time in June. We are very proud of her personal best times so early in the new season. It sets a great baseline for the 2018-2019 swimming season,” says her coach Jan Botha.
Monica continues homeschooling and trains 5 days a week for an hour and a half at the Aqua Lifestyle center swimming pool in Amanzimtoti where her father is the squad coach. She continues to swim and represent North Coast Dolphins Swimming team in Ballito under head coach Dominique Donner.
With editing by gsport