PORT Elizabeth’s Olympic long-distance swimmer Jessica Roux is back home after two years in Durban and the 20-year-old could not be happier.
But just because she is enjoying home comforts does not mean she is any less motivated to continue her burgeoning swimming career.
“I’m so happy to be at home and with mom’s cooking, it’s awesome,” the former Collegiate headgirl said last month after returning from a two-year stint in Durban, which she used to kickstart her swimming career.
While she will no longer be training with swimmers of the status of Olympic hero Chad le Clos, Roux is quite comfortable that her return to PE will not affect her development in any way.
“I will be training with Brian Elliot and Kevin Richards and the plan is to keep improving. I didn’t move back to PE to give up swimming; my goals are still the same and I have set my sights on certain things,” she said.
“I think I learnt enough in Durban to be able to incorporate it into my training here and Brian and Kevin are top-class coaches. And then you have swimmers like Jessica Liss, Chris Reid and Kevin Paul, who have all swum for South Africa, and it’s good to have that sort of training.”
Roux feels her time in Durban was beneficial to her progress, helping her to understand the level of training needed to get to the top.
“My two years in Durban were an awesome experience,” she said. “I was able to focus just on swimming and I learnt so much from training with people like Chad le Clos and Charl Crous. I learnt about the level I should be training at and the times I should be doing.”
Roux’s potential was recognised when she was included in the South African team for the London Olympics last year to compete in the open water 10km swim.
She was not able to complete the race, but believes the experience has made her a tougher person.
“Leading up to Olympics I had never trained so hard in my life … but I think it taught me a lot about toughening up, not only physically but mentally as well as.
“The actual Olympics was a great experience, but it was also tough and it was hard to get back into swimmming afterwards … But I’m over that hurdle now.”