St Dominic’s star swimmer Ashleigh Munks spoke to the Advertiser ahead of her selection to compete at the South African Open Water National Championships, which took place in Jeffreys Bay on March 3 and 4.
It was her third appearance at the national championships.
Competing in the 17 to 18 years age category, Munks was 12th in the 3km event and ninth in the 5km event.
When Munks started swimming at eight years old, her coach was Louisa Nel. She helped Munks master her stroke until she was 11. Munks joined the Boksburg Aquatic Saints at the age of 12 and started to compete competitively, being coached by Wade Marshall.
Take us through the qualifying stages towards the SA Open Water National Championships
You have to swim two 5km distances in under one hour and 25 minutes to qualify for the five-kilometre race for girls. You are also required to swim three 3km distances in 40 minutes to qualify for the three-kilometre race. If you make the times, they normally select you to compete.
How many events did you qualify for?
I qualified for both the three and five-kilometre races.
Is the SA Open Water National Championships an annual event?
Yes, and it will be my third appearance.
Have you won at the event before?
I finished third in the 3km in an open water race.
What’s next if you do well at the championships?
I’ll qualify for the Junior World Championships in open water in Hungary where the races start from 5km.
What is your biggest achievement in the sport to date?
For pool swimming, I represented South Africa in 2016 at the Cana Zone IV in Mauritius and won one gold, one silver and three bronze medals. For open water, it is when I finished third in the 15-16 category for the 3km at the Open Water Nationals in Jeffreys Bay last year.
What do you dream to achieve in the sport?
For pool swimming, I’d love to represent my country at the Olympics one day. And for open water swimming, I’d love to be part of the FINA World Championships open water team.
Who is your favourite swimmer and why?
Michael Phelps. He works hard, he’s dedicated and he has done so much for the sport.
What is your favourite quote?
Work hard, dream big.
What, in your opinion, is the best thing about swimming?
It’s a place for yourself and only yourself. It’s a nice getaway destination.
Where are you from?