Top ranked Cape Town Metro Aquatics under-12 50m and 100m swimmer, Sirhaan Mia, 12, is gearing up to represent Marlin Swimming Club at the South African national junior championships in Durban in March.
Sirhaan achieved a qualifying time of 1:09.93 in the 100m butterfly stroke for the Western Cape Aquatics team.
In December, Sirhaan won three silver medals for the 50m and 100m butterfly races and 4x50m medley relay race at the SA Schools Swimming Championships in Johannesburg.
The Golden Grove Primary School pupil says his parents introduced him to swimming at 11 months old just to be water-safe. He started taking swimming seriously at the age of nine while at Marlin Swimming Club in Athlone.
Sirhaan says being in the water calms him and it feels good being able to cut through the water with growing speed, like his role model, Chad le Clos.
“I know every swimmer will probably say this, but my idol is none other than Chad le Clos, especially because he loves the butterfly stroke and he is a good role model.”
He and fellow Golden Grove Primary schoolmate Nurul-Huda Samaai, are a part of the provincial team coached by Marlin Swimming Club’s Anwar Rinquest.
“Before the race, I go over in my head the strategy discussed with my coach, Anwar Rinquest, and remember the quote my parents always say to me:, ‘Positive attitude, positive result’. Then I step onto the block and focus on finishing the race as strongly as I possibly can,” says Sirhaan.
“Being only 12, all I can say to kids my age is that they should always follow their passion and be happy. Remember that there is no reward without hard work, that is what my coach and parents always say.
“Stay humble and remember where you come from. When you make it ‘big’, come and give back to your community and country in whichever way you can,” says Sirhaan.
His mother, Shameela Mia, says she is always nervous when he steps onto the block at first, but they were elated when he won his two individual silver medals for the 50m and 100m butterfly races, especially because both races had close finishes with the Gauteng boys.
“We were more excited when our age 12 boys 4x50m medley relay team (Ilyaas Omar, Wido Rudolph, Sirhaan Mia and Kyle Kleinhans) finished off strong to win four more silver medals for the Western Cape team. It is just so rewarding to see the smiles on their faces when they finish a race and they know they gave it their all. The team spirit is amazing,” she says.