Being a firm believer in the principle of hard work paying dividends means there is no relenting for the 16-year old, Duné Coetzee, over the December holiday season.
The Youth Olympic medallist who also represented South Africa at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games is selected to compete at the Ausc Region 5 Under-20 Games in Gaborone, Botswana from Saturday. The UP-Tuks swimmer is undoubtedly in for a hectic few days due to her decision to contest nine events.
A slight honour befell the UP-Tuks swimmer today as it was announced she will be the South African flagbearer during the Games's opening ceremony.
Coetzee made it clear that she is not going for the fast times as they are swimming at altitude and she has not tapered down her training at all. Her idea is to put into practise a few of the ideas she has learned through her participation during both Games.
“I am sure that I could have swum a faster time in the 200m-butterfly during the Youth Games if I had strategised better. The mistake I made during the 400m-freestyle was to slow down too much during the middle part of the race. It made me realise that I have to pace myself better during races. I want to start slightly more conservatively to save myself for a stronger finish.
“I also need to work on my start as well as my turns during races. The long and the short of it all is that I can’t afford to take things easy at the moment because if I do, it will jeopardise me from reaching the goals I had set myself for next year.”
During the Youth Games in Argentine, the UP-Tuks finished second in the 200m-butterfly. Her time of 2:11.71 is a new South African age-group record. She also set a personal best time in the 200m-butterfly during the Commonwealth Games.
Coetzee and her coach, Linda de Jager, already decided before the Youth Olympic Games that to reach her goals for next year she needs to spend more time in the pool raking up the kilometres. It meant that mainly every afternoon since July she had started swimming before most of the other UP-Tuks training partners, or sometimes just all on her own.
“My goal for next year is to try and swim the Olympic qualifying times during next year’s national championships or at least to get as close as possible to doing so. If I can do so, I am sure I will be able to qualify for the Junior World Championships. The ultimate would be if I can qualify for the Senior World Championships also.”
Another definite goal Coetzee set herself is to defend her 200m-butterfly title during the Senior South African Championships. She needs just one more victory to complete her hat trick in the event.
From Saturday the UP-Tuks swimmer will be competing in the 50m-, 100m-, 200m- and 400m freestyle events as well as the 50m-, 100m- and 200m-butterfly events, the 100m-backstroke and the 200m individual medley.