It is a race against time to be fit for the South Africa Nationals in April for swimmer Daniela Lindemeir.
After a successful year in 2015 where she achieved three bronze medals at the All Africa Games held in Congo in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke and set a personal and national record of 33.36 seconds in the 50m breaststroke at the South Africa Nationals, she has set her eyes on swimming with the big girls at this year’s Olympics Games in Rio, Brazil.
She also managed two Fédération Internationale de Natation (Fina) B World Qualifying times at the South Africa Nationals.
However, illness has kept her on and off her training regime, and she has not been active since taking part in the All Africa Games last year.
She is now aiming to get back to fitness in such a crucial year.
“Right now, I am doing my best. I will see where it goes as it is in God’s hands.
It would be a dream for me to qualify for the Olympics, as it would for any athlete, and I am prepared to work hard to achieve that,” said Lindemeir.
The 23-year-old swimmer has begun endurance training and the rebuild phase to familiarise herself with the intensity of training required for the sport.
Besides training, she has also taken up part-time coaching at the Windhoek Swimming Club, which keeps her busy while she plans to begin studies next year.
“Support from everyone is needed and always welcome. The greater your support group, the better it is to achieve your goals. There are more factors involved than just training hard.
For example, at world events, other swimmers go with their coaches, assistant coaches and physios in order to have everything they need to perform to the best of their abilities and right now, having that backing, both financially and mentally, is my biggest challenge,” she stated.
Lindemeir’s coach Ryan Skinner said he still believed they can achieve their goal of getting to the Olympics, despite the challenges at hand.
“We’ve worked with challenges before. Prior to the All Africa Games, Daniela had a sore knee which was bothering her for months, but she’s a hard worker and she managed to get three medals at that competition.
As a coach, you dream of having an ideal set-up where injuries or illness is not a concern, but you have to respond to and work with what you have in front of you.
We are in a rebuilding cycle for her, and there is a lot of work which must be covered before the South African Nationals in April,” he said. “However, I believe in Daniela. Even if the outcome is beyond us, I trust she will remain healthy”, he added.
On her achievements last year, Skinner said the experience of facing the best competition in Africa will go a long way in improving her abilities.