14 July, 2017. Samoa – Team Samoa’s young athletes are gearing-up for the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas next week.
Featuring over 70 nations and territories, 1300 young athletes aged 14 – 18 will be competing in events from the 19th to the 23rd of July.
Samoan swimmer Andrea Schuster is ready for this exciting and challenging opportunity. Samoa Planet caught up with her at a training session at the Tuanaimato Aquatic Center where she has been putting in the dedicated hours required to compete at the international level.
“This week we are going to be training extra hard. We train around 11 hours a week.”
“I’m tired, but I’m really excited for the trip,” she adds with a smile.
As a member of the Tanifa O le Vai (TOLV) swim team, Ms. Schuster has been swimming since age four.
Andrea is only 14 years old but already has numerous accolades to her name. This includes her recent success at the Fiji Long Course Age Nationals, in where she attained 7 medals.
“Being fully committed with training really is the challenge. It’s trying to squeeze in school, studying and training into a day.”
“We also have to keep our fitness levels up.”
“It can be a struggle, but I definitely think its worth it in the end, I think the swimmers in our team have a good balance between everything.”
Ms. Schuster is currently in Year 10 at Robert Louis Stevenson Secondary School.
“We all study hard and train hard, but if our grades drop a bit, we do take time off swimming to study that little bit more.”
“Right now, my family is my support, especially my mum because she’s the coach. She watches out for me and propels me in the right direction.”
Ms. Schuster comes from a swimming family. Her older brother, Brandon Schuster is also a talented swimmer. He is studying at California Baptist University, in the U.S and on their swim team. He has numerous swimming accomplishments as well as a lifetime best in the 100-yard breaststroke of 57.77 seconds. Brandon will be competing at the World Championships in Budapest later this month.
“My brother Brandon is my role model. I find it really encouraging that he managed to get a high G.P.A, as well as an Excellence Award at school. He was still able to get a scholarship for his swimming,” said Ms. Schuster.
“He has accomplished so much, and I really look up to him.”
Andrea gave some advice for girls interested in swimming, “If you want to do something, you have to put the effort into it. That’s something I learnt the hard way.”
“Honestly, put in the time and commitment and you will get the results you want.”
Samoa Swimming Federation are preparing for international competition at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas. Andrea Schuster and Sitivi Sooaemalelagi will be representing Samoa at this event.
Samoa Swimming Federation’s National Coach is Suzie Schuster. To join in upcoming events, lessons and competitions contact firstname.lastname@example.org or join Samoa Swimming Facebook page for current events and information.
The Youth Sport Samoa series features young Samoan athletes and their journey to represent Samoa in their chosen discipline. Read more here:
Reporter with Samoa Planet.