Maties Swimming’s Emma Chelius was only eight months old when she attended her first water safety lesson.
Approximately 20 years later, this third-year BCom Management Accounting student at Stellenbosch University is part of the South African team heading to Budapest, Hungary, for the 17th FINA World Championships taking place from Sunday July 23 to Sunday July 30.
“It (the selection) has come as a bit of a surprise but I think it’s going to be an incredible opportunity and a great learning experience to race against some of the greatest swimmers in the world.
“It’s always an honour swimming for South Africa and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Emma, who has represented South Africa at junior world championship level.
She caught the eye of selectors at the South African Senior National Swimming Championships in April where she swam qualifying times for the Summer Universiade (World Student Games) in both the 50m and 100m freestyle events on her way to two silver medals.
She was also a silver medallist in the 50m butterfly event. The 29th Summer Universiade takes place in Taipei, Taiwan, in August.
Apart from Emma, the following Maties Sport student-athletes were selected to represent South Africa at the Summer Universiade: athletes Justine Palframan and Samantha Pretorius, tennis player Jan-Louis Maritz and water polo players Lwazi Mdadi, Nic Downes, Jason Evezard, Jordan Rumbelow and Lood Rabie.
As a full-time student it isn’t always easy to balance sport and academic demands, but Emma has found that she works best under pressure and is most efficient when she has little time.
“Maties Swimming is really accommodating with regards to lecture times and tests or exams, which helps a lot. It’s also been a real blessing having friends who support and help me catch up when I am away competing and miss class. Although I hate missing out on social events, I have learnt to prioritise my work and my training.
“I think being a successful student-athlete is about realising that you have to sacrifice some of the fun things for your sport, but in return you may be rewarded with the results you have worked for.”
Emma trains around 14 hours in the pool and two hours in the gym every week.
She is working towards becoming a qualified chartered management accountant, and registering with the Chartered Institute of Management Accounting (CIMA). She would also love to start her own business one day.
For her, the best part about swimming is racing at galas and making new friends with people from all backgrounds.
And the worst part? “Jumping into a pool in winter!”
Maties Swimming is a High Performance club that caters for serious swimmers and elite performers as well as swimmers who just want to keep fit. It is an open club with approximately 160 members, of which 40 are students.
The club is very proud of Emma: “Your passion and dedication is an inspiration to all of us at Maties Swimming.”
Maties swimmers and Rhenish High pupils Kiara Noades and Inge Weidemann have been selected to represent South Africa at the 6th FINA Junior World Champs, to be held in America from Wednesday August 23 to Monday August 28.
Maties swimmers Alani Ferreira, Hendri Herbst and Christian Sadie have all been selected to represent South Africa at the World Para Swimming Championships which take place in Mexico from Saturday September 30 to Tuesday October 3.