Paralympic swimmer’s hard work pays off
The 23-year-old racked up an impressive four medals out of the seven won by the team at the event in Montreal, Canada, last weekend.
The visually impaired swimmer took three bronze medals and one silver, and broke an African record in the 100m freestyle.
Team SA ended 22nd on the medals table, a position they hope to improve on at the next IPC championships in Scotland in 2015.
Their only gold came from Kevin Paul, who won the 100m breaststroke final, while the other two medals came from Hendrie Herbst, who bagged silver and gold.
Bouwer wasn’t the only South African swimmer to break an African record. Beth Nothling and Adri Visser also made record-breaking times.
The team returned to South Africa this week. Speaking to the Saturday Star, Bouwer said he was very happy with what he had achieved in Canada and looked forward to competing at the championships in 2015.
“Before every major event I always think to myself, am I going to return with any medals,” he said.
“This time, I said to myself just to bring back the same amount of medals I won in London. I was really surprised when I won a fourth medal for my country.
“It shows that my training for the past few years is paying off.”
Bouwer has had a busy year, trying to balance swimming with studies at Stellenbosch University. “This was a very tricky year for me.”
Bouwer was full of praise for his coaches
: “I attribute my success to my coaches at Stellenbosch and my first coach in Kimberley, where I trained the during the winter.”
“My coaches do so much for me and will do anything to help me. So, I can only say thank you to my coaches for all their hard work and help.”
Bouwer says he lives by the motto “no pain, no gain”, and that his success is due to his hunger to always be the best.
His preparations for his fourth Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, were “going according to plan”.
“I must keep focus and not let small things get in my way. I love swimming and I love racing even more.”