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Budapest behind her, now Chelius targets Taipei

Chelius

By Mark Etheridge

She may have been nowhere near hogging the headlines in Hungary at the recently completed Fina World Championships in Budapest, but young Emma Chelius wouldn’t have swopped it for anything.

From Durban originally, but now studying for her third year of a BCom Management Accounting degree at Stellenbosch University, Chelius saw action in the 50m freestyle, 4×100 women’s medley relay and the 4x100m mixed freestyle relay.

And although she didn’t progress through to the next rounds, she wouldn’t swop the experience of seeing how the global stars do it.

‘Hungary was definitely very inspiring,’ she told Team SA. ‘It was amazing to catch a “behind the scenes” glimpse of such a huge sporting event.

‘Sharing the athletes’ area and the warm-up pool with some of the legends of swimming was a huge honour, and it was great to see and learn from the level of professionalism that they have.

‘They are obviously all in very good shape and very strong, so it’s a big motivation to train even harder.’

Coached by Karin Hugo in Stellenbosch [she also coaches two-time Paralympian Hendri Herbst], Chelius had a setback just before world’s.

‘Unfortunately I came down with quite a nasty bout of flu on the day we were meant to leave SA, so I had to delay my flight, and was out of the water for a week trying to recover. It was a bit of a gloomy start to World Champs, but I steadily improved and am really happy that I managed to pull off a strong swim after being sick.

‘I was happy with my 50m freestyle, a personal best time of 25.73 seconds for me, despite the nerves before the race. The Duna Arena is massive and the enthusiastic Hungarian crowd can be quite daunting to face before a race.

‘My first World Champs was an absolutely incredible and inspiring experience overall, and I am definitely leaving Budapest with a lot of motivation. I think we all learnt a lot and I am so honoured to have represented my country alongside such an awesome team.

Apart from coach Hugo’s knowledge, Chelius also has more to fall back on in her personal life. Her boyfriend is Troy Prinsloo, who represented South Africa in the open water event at the London Olympics and in the 1500m in Beijing four years prior to that.

‘He came to visit me here in Stellenbosch for my 21st birthday, but he’s still working full-time in Dubai.’

Next up for Chelius is another global sporting spectacle, the World Student Games Summer Universiade.

‘I leave for Taipei on 14 August, so am hugely excited for that. It’ll be my first time at a Games and I’ve heard only good things about World Students. I’m swimming the 50 and 100 free there and the 50 fly.’

Picture of Chelius in action in Hungary courtesy of Roger Sedres/ImageSA


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