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Back You are here: Home Sports Swimming Kwa Zulu Natal Kristy Muller Eyes London 2012!
Monday, 14 June 2010 10:49

Kristy Muller Eyes London 2012!

Christy_-_CopyFor KZN's Kristy Muller, qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London will be nothing short of a dream come true. The years of dedication, training and sacrifice would have been worth every ounce of effort when that day finally arrives and the 16 year old swimming prodigy is overflowing with confidence that the vision of standing on the block at the Games will become a reality.

"I have a very good chance of making it to the 2012 Olympics but it is going to be very difficult and I am going to have to train extremely hard to reach my goal," Kristy Muller said of the goal that she has set herself to attain.

That summer in London is still some 2 years away yet with every training and gym session she relentlessly puts herself through she inches ever closer to becoming an Olympian. Swimming unlike other sports are regulated by times, it is not good enough to be the best in the country, in order to compete on the world stage alongside the greats qualifying times need to be met and Kristy is determined to make at least three qualifying times to go to the 2012 Games.

The Early Days

With her swimming career steamrollering like an avalanche, Kristy Muller seemed set to dominate the school ranks for many seasons. While this fact may be inevitable, Kristy's ability as a swimmer did not develop overnight.

It has been the culmination of years of training which now has placed her amongst some of the elite swimmers in the country. "I started swimming competitively when I was about ten years old. When I was in Grade 4 I was having some problem concentrating and they wanted me to be put on Ritalin but my parents were totally against that. So my parents started me out on swimming and that really was the start of my interest in the sport," explains Kristy.

Swimming for the Seagulls Swimming Club since 2004 success came quickly to Kristy under the experience tutorage of her coach the legendary Graham Hill. She has been selected for the KZN Swimming team every year since Grade 4, was placed 2nd in the Midmar Mile in 2008, was Female Junior Victrix three times at the KZN Champs and has qualified for Senior Nationals on three occasions. Add to that her recent selection to the Olympic training squad for preparation for the 2012 Olympics and it is clearly evident that Kristy Muller is well on her way to achieve some of the great experiences that swimming can offer.

"My father, mother and sister great encouragement..."

However Kristy is quick to point out that her success is partly due to the tremendous support she gets from those around her. "My father, mother and sister are a great source of encouragement to me and my coach Graham Hill is very good," she adds.  It is true that the name Graham Hill comes up often with regard to the swimming talent in KZN and for good reason. The ex-Olympic swimming coach is excellent in identifying talent and is well-known for giving attention to correct technique which is a priority to him. His determination, focus and commitment to the athletes seem to inspire all that train under him and he is quick to pick up on swimming weaknesses and to work through them with the swimmers.

Yet it is heart-warming to see the commitment of parents too, who many times are the unsung heroes devoting hours of encouragement to ensure dreams and goals become realism. "As parents we pay with support especially when Kristy has to be at a certain place at a certain time, there are overseas trips coming up, endorsements and planning so as a parent we tend to get involved and support where we can," mentions Kristy's father Lourens Muller.

Training Of a Champion...

Since those early days as an inexperience Grade 4 swimmer, the determination and dominance has not ceased. Training six times a week for two hours at a time in the afternoons and three times in the mornings for another two hours, along with intensive gym sessions and following a pre-competition diet there is no doubt that Kristy Muller is extremely dedicated to her sport. "You need to have a strong mind and you need to have a certain amount of talent if you are going to be a good swimmer. The more you fail, the more you succeed so you have to keep on trying. I train throughout the year, summer, winter, getting up early when it is still dark, it's a sacrifice but one that I love," explains Kristy.

Specialising in Free Style and Butterfly as well as the Individual Medleys, Kristy has broken and established new records in several meets down through the years. This year she competed for the first time in the Short Course World Cup and the experience gained from rubbing shoulders with some of the world's best will no doubt be invaluable as the competition gets tougher. "You know I class myself as a sprinter, so you do a lot of explosive training and the whole emphasis is on speed. With a sprinter you need bigger muscle structure and a really strong upper body. Most importantly you need to be able to think quickly which is what sets the sprinters apart from distance swimmers. Swimming in the Short Course World Cup was a great experience and I especially enjoy the 100m when it comes to short course swimming," states Kristy.

Kristy is presently sitting in the top 3 in all the events that she swims in so the chances of getting into the Olympics are very good. She is very clear that swimming will feature prominently in her life once her school days are over and that she wants to pursue a career in the sport. "I am not sure if I will swim oversees yet I will have to see at the time but at the moment I would like to study after school and ideally I would like to study in Cape Town but they are also always looking for swimmers in the US Universities so that could be an option,"  explains Kristy pragmatically.

With the average swimmer's career spanning from the age of 15 to 28 the top class swimmer these days can realistically make a good living from swimming especially once you start swimming in the World Cup where pounds and dollars are earned. Yet no amount of financial gain could compare to seeing a dream finally come to life.

The next 2 years will be a time of tremendous effort for Kristy Muller as she prepares for the biggest meet of her life. The early mornings and long workout sessions will tick by relentlessly and with single-minded determination her times will gradually get faster and we will all see her taking her opportunity to compete as an Olympian. Yet Kristy Muller is not one to lose focus or get caught up with the pressure or hype to perform nor is she over confident, because behind the ever smiling face is a gentle confidence in the belief that her day will finally come. In the space of a couple of years the name Kristy Muller could well be heard from far flung corners of the world and the sport of swimming will be that much richer for her inclusion. As one swimmer so aptly put it,

"You know it is the person who wants it the most that will succeed. I love water, my mind clears when I train and makes me feel free....just me and the water." Kristy Muller.

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