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Coach Meiring prefers to be out of the limelight

by ZwemZa on October 17th, 2019

Tuks swimming coach Rocco Meiring. Picture credit: Reg Caldecott

Apart from sports fans with a real interest in swimming, few would know the name Rocco Meiring  – but that’s the way he prefers it.

Apart from sports fans with a real interest in swimming, few would know the name Rocco Meiring  – but that’s the way he prefers it.

The World Championship 200m-breaststroke silver medallist Tatjana Schoenmaker’s also does not like the  limelight, but Meiring’s record can’t be ignored.

A champion pupil for Meiring

That is why he has been nominated for SA Sports Award Coach of the Year with the University of Pretoria (Tuks) Schoenmaker in contention for the female sports star of the year award.

Her performances are probably one of the most significant  in South African swimming in the last few years.

She was the first-ever local female swimmer to medal at a long course (50m) world championship.

Another Tuks swimmer Kaylene Corbett, who finished eighth in the same final, is also coached by Meiring.

The Tuks swimming coach admits being caught slightly off-guard with what happened during the World Championship.

“I am not an old hand in the world of international swimming coaching so I cannot pretend Tatjana winning a silver medal is not something fantastic – but I have to stay grounded.

“I try and make everyone I coach understand that is their journey, not mine. My only role is to help them. It is about adding value.”

Since 2017 Schoenmaker has medalled at each of the major international swimming galas she competed at.

She is also constantly improving. In 2017 her best in the 200m breaststroke was 2:24.61. Last year it was 2:22.02. Now during the World Championships in Korea, she swam 2:21.79.

Meiring ascribes her success to a good understanding between the two of them.

“I guess it boils down to honest communication. Each of us understands our role. There can only be one main person and that is Tatjana,” explains the Tuks coach.

“My challenge is is to see whether I can help her to become better. If I can’t, I have to be honest and and tell her.”

There is a lot of expectation for Schoenmaker to medal during next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“From a training level we are striving to do better. I had Tatjana’s race performances during the World Student Games, World Championships and World Cup in July analysed so I know what her shortcomings are.

“It is clear what needs to be done to ensure she will be more competitive during the Games.

“From a mental perspective, we are obviously trying to keep the pressure off. It helps that Tatjana has already qualified.”

African News Agency

From → African News

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