At the age of nine months, Linique Rowles was already swimming and now, at the age of 12 she broke the North West 50m freestyle record that stood for 17 years.
Linique took part in the level 3 championships in April where she broke the 30.29 seconds freestyle record with a time of 30.25seconds.
“I was extremely happy and shocked when I found out that I broke the record. I didn’t think I could do it because the previous record time was a very good time,” she said.
She was recognised with an award for breaking the record in the 2018/19 swimming season at the North West annual prize giving function recently. Born in Nelspruit, she moved to Hartbeespoort with her parents when she was five, she joined the Harties Reflections and Lifesavings Club where she got to sharpen her swimming skills. Linique is not only a fast swimmer, she participates in other sports such as netball, athletics and softball at Generaal Hendrik Schoeman Primary School. According to her it is not difficult to juggle sports and her school work.
“It’s really not hard because our swimming training is at the 4pm and I do my school work at 14:00, and competitions are held on weekends,” says the grade six learner. Nicky as she is known to her friends, has bagged numerous accolades since she started taking part in swimming competitions, too many to remember them all. “I’ve been getting gold, silver and bronze medals but this is my first record,” she laughs.
For 12-year-old Linique there is nothing more thrilling than preparing hard for a competition and winning it. At times she is faced with the challenge of not having enough time to prepare for a competition because of other sports commitments. This record- holder wanted to be a teacher, but seeing how well she performs in sports, she has now set her sight on becoming a professional sports person. “I plan to do netball, swimming and high jump because this is what I am good at. Some people have advised me to stick to swimming because I am good at it and some say netball because of my height.”
Linique draws inspiration for swimming from one of South Africa great swimmers, Chad le Clos. Head coach of the Harties Reflections, Lynnette van Rensburg says she is extremely proud of Linique and her record achievement and still wants her to do more. “I knew she could do it, she has been a good swimmer from the beginning and I believe she can still break records well into her twenties. I hope one day she’ll qualify for the junior nationals’ competition,” says the coach.
She further added that the 12-year-old is dedicated, never complains and working with her has been an absolute joy. The grade six learner encourages young people to follow their dreams and do what they love to be successful. She further extended her gratitude to her mother who she says has always been by her side, her coaches for their lessons and her friends for their continued support.
Linique was selected for the North West schools team that will be taking part in the SA Schools Nationals in December. If you want to join the Harties Reflections Club contact coach Lynnette van Rensburg on 0829279791.