It’s in every sportsman or woman’s dream to represent their country at an International platform. What more winning a medal during a competition, that becomes a cherry on top of the cake for the athlete.
Ryan Franceys, is a Zimbabwean swimmer who has been flying the nation’s flag high internationally. In an exclusive moment with Tapiwa Rubaya (TR), My Afrika Magazine’s reporter, Ryan (RF) tells us more about his swimming journey and his recent achievements at the South African Senior National Championships which were held in Port Elizabeth.
TR: Can you briefly tell us about yourself?
RF: I was born in Harare and attended St. John’s Preparatory school and St. John’s College. I have always been quite competitive but mostly enjoy the camaraderie that comes with playing sport.
TR: Take us to when you began your journey as a swimmer?
RF: I got into swimming thanks to my mother because she was a swimming teacher. Once I got older and wanted to take my swimming further, I joined Spartans Swimming Club in 2011 and I have been with them ever since.
TR: Who inspired your swimming journey?
RF: I would definitely say my parents and my swimming coach, Lindsy Tudor-Cole. They have been very supportive and have pushed me to do the best. Sometimes that meant making me train when I absolutely didn’t want to. In my early days as a swimmer, I enjoyed watching swimming at international level and particularly charismatic swimmers like Ryan Lochte.
TR: You are currently still pursuing your studies but at the same time doing well in your swimming career how do you balance the two?
RF: The key here is a balanced approach. My parents have made sure I kept focused on my academic studies, but when I am training in the pool I always try to give of my best and make the most of every session.
TR: Do you believe swimming should be prioritized as a must sport in every school in Zimbabwe?
RF: Yes, 100% I believe that swimming is one of the most important skills to have in general. Currently I have seen that in most schools, swimming is not prioritised as much as other sports, and I would like to see that improve in the future.
TR: How has your own journey inspired those who you train with especially at school?
RF: I always try to bring a positive attitude to both training and competition and give of my best. You can learn as much from losing a race as winning.
TR: In a summary can you tell us about your journey in Port Elizabeth this year?
RF: I trained really hard to prepare myself for the SA Senior National Championships in PE. I was nervous coming into this gala and found it tough to stay focused for the 5 days. The competition was very good, so I needed to stick with my race plan.
TR: What did it mean to you in becoming one of the first swimmers from Zim to win the first medal during the tournament?
RF: It is always a great feeling winning a medal for Zimbabwe and kicking off the medal count was amazing
TR: Aside from Swimming what did you love about Port Elizabeth?
RF: I have always loved going on tours for any sport. I get to make some new friends and see some old friends, which I love. I enjoy the memories that were made with the team and the laughter that was shared during the stay at Port Elizabeth.
TR: During your training phases what are some of the challenges that you face?
RF: When training for galas I think the biggest challenge is staying focused and motivated. It involves many hours in the pool and pushing myself through fitness barriers to achieve better times.
TR: Given an opportunity to participate in Olympics how will it change your life?
RF: It is every athlete’s dream to represent their country at the Olympic Games. This is certainly my dream and a lifetime goal.
TR: Lastly, what is next for you in terms of tournaments?
RF: I will be attending college in the USA in August, but I hope to swim in a Grand Prix event in Durban at the end of May and possibly a gala in Dubai in June.