Olympic swimming hero, Natalie du Toit is celebrating her birthday today. We chatted to her to find what she is up to now post swimming.
Tell us about all the exciting things you have planned for 2019.
The 2019 year will be about personal growth and finishing what I have started in every aspect of my life. This rings true for my studies, commissions I serve on and businesses I am involved with. It is a time for growth on levels of not hanging back anymore, but rather using lessons I have learnt in my sporting career and using it throughout my life and getting back to doing a little bit of exercise (nothing too big).
We hear that you are doing motivational speaking, please tell us more about that?
My motivational career began back in the year of my accident, so that would make it 18 years and more than half of my life. I would like to do more speaking locally and internationally and – not only on a motivational level, but rather a level of growing, educating and leading in terms of social media and communications (the path that life after sport has directed me into). Sport, business and life are so similar and technology has created terrible uncertainty.
Are you coaching or interested in getting into coaching young swimmers at all?
I have always believed I would be a terrible coach. Growing up, believing in doing things the right way and doing them whether there was a coach or not was important. Generations have changed three fold from when I was actively swimming and I honestly believe that lessons learnt in sport could be taught through other means, hence me serving on sports commissions.
There are not a lot of female South African swimmers around at the moment, what would you suggest can be done to improve that?
It is tough to give up everything to be a top swimmer, especially in today’s world. The pressure to be something, to be in a job, raise a family, earn money etc. is massive. Our women swimmers are on the rise, which is a great positive, however, it would be great to see the development of women sport more at a constant than a lull of a few years.
Are there any young aspiring female swimmers out there who are coming up the ranks who you have seen that we should look out for?
Be proud of all of our athletes and show support. Each one has potential and with opportunity could be the best they can be.
What are your favourite moments from your swimming career and why?
My most favourite memory would be the swim in Spain in which we qualified for the Olympic Games. It was a picture perfect race where everything went as planned and better. The moment we qualified for the ultimate ‘Olympic Games’ – all dreams came true. The downs were made worth it.
Tell us 3 things that people don’t know about Natalie du Toit.
I work in the industry of communications in business and in social media in particular. Boats always intrigue me – so many different shapes, sizes and weights and yet they all float. Swimming is more aligned with how a plane soars through the air. I don’t like seafood at all
Happy Birthday, Natalie! We hope you have a great day and a successful year ahead!