Paying Success Forward – a simple act of kindness

Competitive swimming and paying success forward:

Paying success forward is a cornerstone principle to us as swim parents. It is an important process to nurture our swimmer as a person (and not just an athlete.)  It keeps her grounded and humble.

Swimming is like a toffee apple.  Tough to eat, but sweet and soft on the inside.  It is a long, hard road which requires more than the average amount of commitment, work, and endurance.

We are blessed with a youngster willing to do the work, make the sacrifices at a young age and commit to the long-term plan.

The beginning of paying success forward

Paying success forward through an act of kindness.

March 2016.  It is our third year of swimming and Monica established herself as a provincial swimmer following the KZN Provincial championships in February 2016.

Paying swimming success forward

Monica pays her success forward to her best friend at the Kloof MiniLympics in March 2016.

Our neighbor and Monica’s best friend (Amber) receives a certificate at her school for the “Most improved swimmer”.  At this point in time, our town does not have training and coaching facilities. (Dad continues his ASCA coaching qualification in order to continue Monica’s training.)

As a result, we (Mom and Mica), decides to help her with some stroke correction in a very informal way.  We have great fun helping Amber at her home pool.

The girls enter a fun swim meet called the MiniLympics. Monica does very well at the meet and she decides to give one of her medals to her Amber with the instruction to earn her own next time they swim.

We spend Saturdays at Amber’s house helping her with her strokes, practicing starts and turns until May when winter sets in.  Swim training like this is great fun and we become a great team

During the winter of 2016, the sessions continue at the gym where there is a heated pool.  We take every week as it comes as Monica’s best friend has other commitments than just swimming (school, dancing, winter sport etc.)

Growing our effort to inspire other swimmers:
WSC September 2016

WSC fun gala September 2016 – silver and bronze medals for our best friend.

September 2016:

The girls enter the Westville Swimming Club fun gala.  This was Monica’s first ever swim back in 2013.  As a result, WSC fun gala holds special meaning to us.

The meet goes very well despite rain and cold weather.  Amber earns a silver and bronze medal.

We are so proud of her achievement and express the wish to build on her success – she becomes highly motivated and told us that she would also like to win all her events including the 100-meter IM.

Monica advises that, in order to do so, she will have to learn to swim butterfly and attempt to swim an individual medley.

Inspiring fellow swimmer

October 2016. Monica pays her success forward to a swimmer from Gauteng

October 2016:
Seagulls SC winter champs.

Monica makes a new friend from Gauteng (Alexia).  She stays with us while swimming Seagulls winter champs and the two girls become close friends.

Even though she wins her swimming heats, medals elude Alexia and she becomes very despondent.  Monica decides to give her gold IM medal to her friend as motivation.

The concept grows as she tells Alexia that once she wins medals, she has to inspire someone else by paying her success forward.

Alexia has to work hard in the coming year in order for her to swim for her own medal at Seagulls SC champs 2017.  The girls stay in touch and we will keep our diary updated.

Inspiring friend to swim IM

Seagulls fun gala December 2016. Our friend completes her first 100-meter IM. Mica pays medal forward.

December 2016:
We enter Amber and Monica into the Seagulls fun gala.  Our friend is entered for her first 100-meter IM.  She completes the event and we are so proud of her.

Monica decides to keep the motivation going and she gives her friend her gold IM medal.

The medal comes with a motivational message: Let’s work on breaststroke and butterfly, in order to improve the IM.  

The next goal is set.

Paying success forward in 2017:
Inspiring young swimmers

Monica handing over one of her gold medals.

End January 2017: Our family travels to Richards Bay to swim Ushaka championships.  It is just a fun weekend away for us.  Monica cleans the medal table with some 9-and-under meet records.  She decides to pay her success forward once again by giving a medal to Pongola Swimming Academy.

We leave it up to PSA to decide who the swimmer is that always try hard but just never make the podium.  Monica befriends her fellow 9-year-old swimmers at Ushaka champs and we stay in touch with the club.


Paying success forward works

February 2017:
Amber swim trials and is chosen to represent her school’s swim team.  We attend the Inter-house gala.

She swims like a superstar in the 11 & Under age group.

The school awards the 11 & Under Freestyle ELCOX Cup and the DAWE trophy for 11 & Under Backstroke to her as she won these events. What an amazing turn of events and it all started with one simple act of kindness……

All things considered, we did not expect this turn of events.  This project just became fun.  We aim to continue to inspire those around us and will update this site with news as we pay our success forward.


Childhood cancer’s 100 Gold ribbons Swim To Inspire

It is January 2017.  Swim training started last week and we are receiving our first swim meet entries for January.  It is time for me to note our contribution to Childhood cancer in 2016 before we start the remaining 3 months of the 2016-2017 season.  We hope you find this post inspiring and join the cancer awareness campaigns to increase awareness.

September is not just the month when we celebrate spring.  It is also the month when the swimming season officially starts with the biggest Junior swimming event in our province:  KZN Junior champs.

In 2015 Monica pledged all her races to the Go Gold September childhood cancer awareness project, and we made the same commitment and pledge in 2016.  This time around we decided to do more than just swim for cancer, we also decided to make 100 Gold ribbons and hand them out at the Junior champs.

Why do we support childhood cancer?

As a mom, I firmly believe that every child should learn how to support a worthy cause.  In our case, we choose childhood cancer due to Monica’s early childhood (birth to age 6) health battles.

For our first-time readers, Monica suffers from respiratory problems.  In the early days, it manifested as chronic pneumonia.  At age 2 her tests included full blood work checking for any signs of cancer.  We are forever grateful for the negative results but will never forget the stressful time.

Today Monica is healthy even though she is using preventative medication for asthma (diagnosed at age 6) with no signs of pneumonia.

Besides our own challenges, we do identify with the difficulty families face dealing with sick children, not just children suffering from childhood cancer.

Making 100 Gold ribbons:

Childhood cancer awareness ribbonsWe, therefore, decided that we want to support this cause in the best possible way we can.  Supporting a cause is not always about money or raising funds.

Setting an example, making ribbons, telling people around us about childhood cancer is also a way to contribute – sometimes creating awareness achieve more than the penny dropped into the tin.

Making the ribbons is such a fun activity!  We made a template and Monica cuts the ribbons.  Mom sews the beads and the pins onto the ribbons.  A true team effort.

It took a bit of time but by KZN Junior champs, we had 100 ribbons ready for distribution.

 KZN Junior champs 2016:

Gold ribbons for childhood cancerThe day arrives and we hand out our ribbons to friends, coaches and parents around the pool.  It is very well received and at one stage we think we are going to run out of ribbons, but thankfully there were enough.

Monica enhances her effort by swimming in a gold and black swim-suit, cleaning out the medal table, winning the top 9-year-old female trophy.  Setting an example in every possible way.KZN junior champs gold suit

One thing that struck me was the number of people that said they knew of someone suffering from cancer. Some sad stories were shared but most of all we think we achieved our goal which is to create awareness, spread love and support for those that are fighting their battles.

Many thanks to all the clubs, parents, and coaches supporting our effort!

Cancer – the good news in 2017:

The American Cancer Society released a report in January stating that the death rate is down 25% since 1991. One wonders what the statistics show in South Africa and the rest of the world?

Nothing like a bit of good news and a great way to start 2017.  Let’s keep up our effort and spread the word!
Gold in September cancer awareness


Swimming pool opening invited special guest

Swimming pool opening – the invitation

Athlone Park Primary invited Monica as special guest at the 2017 refurbished swimming pool opening.

Part of our mission with swimming  is not only to grow Monica as a swimmer but also to inspire young swimmers to believe in themselves and work towards their own success.

Not many athletes get the type of exposure needed in order to inspire other swimmers.  It is, therefore, a great honor for us to be invited as guests to the Athlone Park Primary refurbished swimming pool opening and fun gala.

Arriving at the Refurbished swimming pool opening

How we met Charlie during the swimming pool opening25 October 2016, we arrive early at the school and battle a bit to find parking.  Organized chaos one only find at schools when parents fetch the kids.

Monica spots this Peacock in the front garden across the road from the school.  We learn from one of the moms that his name is Charlie.  He proudly calls and fans his feathers – it is beautiful!

Swim teams from Athlone Park, Warner Beach and Scottburgh primary attend the opening and fun gala and we wait for the teams to settle down around the pool.

Very excited learners at the school.  Monica is home schooled, so this is a new experience for her.  In the mean time her best friend arrives and she runs over to us to say hello.  She is a learner at Warner Beach Primary.

Physical education teacher Mrs. ChampionStart of the fun gala 

Mrs. Champion, the physical education special educator, introduce us to Mr. Vorster, the acting principal.  He tells us that the school aimed to enclose the pool area and install heaters to ensure year-round swim training for the swimmers.

Unfortunately, the quote to enclose and heat the pool was just too much.  The governing body’s decision included fixing leaking pipes, refinishing the fiberglass and replacing the pool pump.

Invited guest swimming pool openingThe fun gala starts promptly and runs smoothly with swimmers really doing their utmost best. Monica and Mom has a special seat where we are entertained to some muffins served by the home education learners at the school.  It is delicious!  Royal treatment in every possible way.

Monica’s 100 Individual Medley to inspire the school’s learners

During the fun gala, Monica tells me that it is terrible for her to sit on the side watching swimming.  Mrs. Champion approach us and asks if Monica would like to swim for the learners.  Fortunately we always keep a swim bag with us (regardless of where we go) in the event that Monica is required to swim.

We agree that Monica will swim her favorite event, the 100-meter medley as a demonstration to the school’s learners after the break before the relays.

This day holds special meaning to us and we will always cherish it as it is the first time that Monica receives acknowledgment by our local community as a swimmer. Thank you Athlone Park Primary – we know that this pool will produce many champion swimmers!