Sydney based former Jo’burg boy Grant Brits will be making a splash at the 2008 Olympics in China later this year.
At only 20 years old Grant has secured a place in the Australian Olympic team and says the opportunity “kind of just happened”.
“My mum was a swim coach in South Africa and so I swam a little bit when we lived there but only really for fun,” he says.
His competitive edge kicked in when he realised his friend was a little bit better than him in the pool and he decided that beating him would be motivation enough to get into some serious training.
With over 25 hours of training a week it is inspirational that Grant has been able to balance his Commerce and Accounting degree at Macquarie University with his swimming commitments.
“I should be finishing up my degree next year and then I will reassess what I want to do with my swimming. I think I want to get into the banking side of things,” says Grant.
Instead of the uphill battle most of us see when we think of exercise, Grant says swimming has been the best distraction he could have.
“Swimming has really helped me get through a lot of things. Like for example throughout school it was really just a healthy distraction,” he says.
Without the daily structure and stimulation of school, Grant finds that the tables have turned and it’s now uni that keeps him focused.
“I need the mental hour. It gets quite repetitive swimming up and down,” he says.
Even though he is swimming for Australia, Grant supports the Springboks all the way.
“I really like seeing South African teams get ahead and up there in sport. Like the World Cup and the Super 14 rugby. I really enjoy that.”
Although his success is remarkable, Grant remains modest, friendly and undoubtedly talented. “The whole experience is very surreal, I don’t think it has hit me yet. It will just be another swim meet,” he says casually.
Grant is off to Europe in the months leading up to the Olympics for a swim meet which will give him valuable practice for the big race. For the swimmer this opportunity is a dream come true, “I grew up wanting to swim for Australia,” he says.
“Even though I’m South African, Australia is where I’ve grown up, so it’s good to represent the country.”