Young swimming sensation David Van Der Colff continues to make strides as he has now qualified for the next year Youth Olympics in China.
Van Der Couf fared well in the recent Youth Championships held in Zambia which and as a result he will be representing Botswana in August next year.
The 16-year-old has made his mark in this year’s national youth championships when he was an unknown young boy from the Darrel Morton Swimming School club Gators.
In those swimming champions held at the UB pool, Van Der Colff was impressive winning 200m butterfly with a time of 2:27:12. Van Der Colff also won 800 metre freestyle in which he clocked a breathtaking 9:09:72, much to the amazement of a capacity crowd who could not stop cheering his name.
He also won the 100 metre backstroke in 63 seconds. This record has seen Van Der Colff going places as now he is studying at University of Pretoria. His study also goes with a swimming scholarship and training. He is also a swimmer in the university club, TUKS.
The young swimmer was introduced to the water sport at the tender age of seven in Francistown’s John Mackenzie School. Darrell Morton then became his mentor when he moved to Gaborone as he was enrolled at the Darrell Morton Swimming School.
In an interview with Sunday Standard his former coach who is also the owner of the swimming school, Darrell Morton, describes him as a passion driven, motivated and self disciplined child. He said he has known him for more than five years.
“He has a good work ethic. Swimming requires a great deal of mileage and he does well with his dedication and hard work,” said Morton.
Though Morton said it was a great pleasure to work with the young swimming star, he said as a coach he does not deserve all the credit.
He said Van Der Colff was well groomed when he came at his school and the coaches who taught him to blow the bubbles deserve praises.
In terms of technical ability, Morton said Van Der Colff’s strength is in his distance per stroke.
“His distance per stroke is brilliant compared to the other kids I have seen. He is quite efficient and economic in the swimming pool and that whats makes him the best,” said Morton.
Morton also had an advice for the young swimmer saying he should stay focused and take one goal at a time. He said Van Der Colff should take one step at a time and not be hasty.
“His first goal should be to qualify for Rio 2016…..That is a realistic goal. From there he should take each step as it comes,” said Van Der Colff.
In an interview with Sunday Standard Van Der Colf’s mother, Collette said she is glad that her son is going places. She told this newspaper that swimming does not affect her child’s school work and life discipline.
Mrs Van Der Colff said her child is well groomed and well focused on his school work. She said David once told her that he wants to take her swimming seriously.
And she gladly agreed as she knows sport can be good in the upbringing of a child.
“When you are still a child sport instils discipline in you so when he said he want to take his swimming to another level I encouraged him,” said Mrs Van Der Colff. The young athlete could not be reached for comment as at he was competing in Provincial Competitions for his TUKS club.
Van Der Colff will be one of the rising stars and a key member in the national swimming squad which is being preparing for the African Youth Games scheduled for May next year.
If his current performance and fitness is anything to go with, he will be among those who will be selected in January to represent this country at Commonwealth Games.