Auckland swimmer Gabrielle is only a teenager, but she’s already got some pretty massive achievements under her belt. She’s heading to China to compete in the Youth Olympics this month.
If you haven’t heard of Gabrielle Fa’amausili yet, chances are you’re about to. The Auckland teenager has won numerous accolades for her speedy swimming, including the emerging talent at the Halberg Awards this year, and a gold medal at the Swimming World Championships.
She’s also swum alongside — and beaten — Olympians Lauren Boyle and Hayley Palmer, and is set to make a splash at the Youth Olympics. Gabrielle tells us why she loves being in the water.
How did you first get into swimming and at what point did you decide to pursue it seriously?
I started learning at three years old but had a drowning accident and didn’t go back until I was six. I started competition swimming when I was nine and decided it would be the sport I would pursue when I was 12.
What sort of training schedule have you got for the upcoming Youth Olympics?
I train nine times during the school week then once on Saturday mornings.
What are the biggest highlights of your swimming career so far?
Attending the Junior World Championships in Dubai last year. That was my first big international meet, it was amazing.
Why do you love swimming? How does it make you feel to be in the water, particularly in a competitive environment?
I love swimming because of the friends you make, the places you go and the fun things you do and of course the competition. I’m very competitive and swimming/racing is a sport where I can be an individual competitor but also have that team environment.
What was it like to race alongside Olympic swimmer Lauren Boyle last year?
It was an awesome opportunity and a privilege to race a very experienced New Zealand representative swimmer.
How do you balance school work and socialising with a strict training schedule?
I try to do all my homework in class otherwise I save it for the weekends. In saying that, if I don’t have homework or competitions on the weekend then I’ll hang out with friends.
What are your long-term goals?
I am definitely hoping to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and also hopefully the 2015 Worlds Championships.
The Youth Olympics Games will screen on the pop-up channel SKY Sport 5, from Saturday August 16.