Grocott's Mail

Toni swims her way to gold


Toni Rafferty, a Diocesan School for Girls swimmer, took home two gold medals at the South African Junior Nationals Champions competitio­n in Durban this week. Toni received the gold medals for 100m and 50m freestyle.

“Winning gold was the most indescriba­ble feeling. I had not expected it at all,” Rafferty told Grocott’s Mail. “When I looked up at the board and saw that I had gotten a personal best that I had been trying to obtain for a very long time (58:69) and first place, I literally could not stop smiling, I just couldn’t believe it.

“I later also found out that I had broken the EP record which made me even more happy.”

Rafferty has been swimming under the guidance and motivation of Sheena Price for the past five years.

“Her motherly but strict demeanour has enabled me to push myself and become the swimmer I am today,” said Rafferty.

Rafferty was not a natural water-lover and up until the age of 11 had not been very interested in swimming competitiv­ely.

“One the biggest highlights at my primary school (Victoria Primary School) was the inter-house Gala,” she said.

The fierce competitio­n between not only the houses but also between Rafferty and her fellow swimmers was fierce.

“In fact, it was because of one of those girls (Lea Timmermans) that I began to want to train harder for swimming in order to beat her.”

It was then, through drive and passion to win, that Rafferty realised her enthusiasm for swimming.

Rafferty’s parents Kevin and Michelle, both agree that Toni has worked very hard for this achievemen­t and despite the early mornings and long training sessions will happily help Toni pursue her swimming career.

Rafferty's fellow swimmer, Davoren Swales, believes there is no limit to Toni's potential and says he is looking forward to the day he sees Rafferty on the starting blocks at the Olympics.

Sage Cawse said, “She (Toni) deserves it immensely.” Cawse is sure that this puts Toni one step closer to the Olympics.

Rafferty is now focusing on the South African Senior and Youth Championsh­ips.

“I’m hoping to make finals for and make some more personal bests.”

At Senior Nationals next week, Toni hopes to qualify for the FINA World Championsh­ips in the 100m freestyle.

Her time is currently 58.69 seconds and she will need to swim the qualifying time of 58.08 seconds.

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